Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Thing About Tim Tebow

A lot has been said about Tim Tebow. They say he's overrated, they say he's a mediocre football player, they say that he's a religious grand stander. I guess that people can (and will) say whatever they want.

I don't care much about football (except for the Florida Gators), I think that a lot of athletes have lost the joy of what they are doing a long time ago and are now only in it for the love of money. They use their spare time to advertise deodorant, shoes, cereals, candy bars, car insurance, etc. and that has become more of their real job than the 60 minutes that they spend on the field each week.

Tim Tebow was a good quarterback at UF. He went out and did what needed to be done on the field and, although the media started to fall in love with him, he never really let it go to his head. He spoke of God and Jesus, he used his breaks from school to go on missions trips, and he always talked about the team effort.

When Tebow went to the NFL, I was certain that he would become lost in the sea of professional athletes much like Rex Grossman, DeShawn Wynn, and Tavares Washington (former well-known UF alumni that also went into the NFL). After all, the NFL is filled with incredibly talented athletes. Why would I have expected to see Tim Tebow back on a national stage? Add to that that he was drafted by the Denver Broncos, a team that had been under my radar for years. I was so surprised by the fact that he was drafted into the Broncos that I asked the Hubs, "Denver still has a football team?"

Needless to say, I thought that the next time that I would hear from Tim Tebow would be 5 or 6 years from now as a commentator for ESPN or on a commercial selling used cars from his very impressive showroom in downtown Gainesville (don't laugh, it does happen).

It was surprising to hear that he had become a starting quarterback. To hear of "miraculous" upsets in his following games was nothing new to those of who had followed his college career, Tim Tebow knows exactly how to manipulate the football field. And when he's on? That boy can seriously play some football.

But everybody has bad days. Sometimes, those days even fall on Sundays. And Tebow has taken the knocks, he has taken the blows to his character, his ability, and his reputation. The one thing that he will not rest silently on is the near-constant insults to his beliefs. And that is the thing about Tebow.

When I discovered "Tebowing" a few months ago, I blogged about how awesome I thought it was...

Tim Tebow is living the life that Christians are called to live. He is not embarassed of his relationship with God, he does not hide his love of Jesus, he is living - unashamed - in the spotlight of international fame as follower of Christ. He is not uncomfortable in that spotlight (and I can't say that I wouldn't be, if I were in his shoes).

This morning, I was amazed to see my Yahoo page:

The Number 2 Trending Now Topic? John 3:16
When is the last time that a Bible verse was a trending topic on any search engine? I am pretty sure that that has never happened.

The real thing about Tim Tebow is that he has opened a national dialogue about religion and having a relationship with Christ. To some, he has made being a Christian cool, to others he has proven to be a fine example of an authentic believer. When Jake Plummer, the former Broncos quarterback stated that he wished that Tebow would curb his references to Jesus Christ and his faith, Tim replied:

"If you're married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife 'I love her' the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity?

"And that's how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ is that it is the most important thing in my life. So any time I get an opportunity to tell him that I love him or given an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I'm gonna take that opportunity. And so I look at it as a relationship that I have with him that I want to give him the honor and glory anytime I have the opportunity. And then right after I give him the honor and glory, I always try to give my teammates the honor and glory.
"And that's how it works because Christ comes first in my life, and then my family, and then my teammates. I respect Jake's opinion, and I really appreciate his compliment of calling me a winner. But I feel like anytime I get the opportunity to give the Lord some praise, he is due for it."
I love that this guy, with offers to endorse anything in the world is, instead, using this platform to endorse who and what he believes in. I love that he has so much conviction in his beliefs that he is willing to face daily persecution from fellow players, the media, and naysayers. I love that there is so much "controversy" revolving around his beliefs that it is causing him to be the headliner on every news story since Christmas. I love that in the face of everything our American culture is between the Kardashians and the Lohans, that this one young man is able to stand up and proudly proclaim our Lord and Savior. 
My only wish is that we could all feel the call of God on our lives so wholeheartedly, that we should all be able to live and proclaim our beliefs as eloquently and unashamed as he does. After all, it is what we have been called to do:
"No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." - Matthew 5:15-16

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