On another blog I occasionally address sports-related topics, but thought I’d give my two-cents worth about what has become known nationwide as the “Tebow thing.”
For the uninitiated, Tim Tebow helped Florida win two BCS (college football) Championships, won the Heisman Trophy, and now – despite unorthodox and widely criticized passing techniques – starts at quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Tebow also is an unashamed, outspoken follower of Jesus Christ.
The “Tebow thing” concerns his phenomenal last-minute performances leading the Broncos to a series of nail-biting victories late in the season, capped last Sunday by an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers and enable the Broncos to advance in the NFL playoffs.
|Tim Tebow has become|
a national conversation piece.
On top of that, his total passing yardage for the game was 316; dividing that by the 10 passes he completed during the game, he averaged 31.6 yards per completions. By coincidence – or not, some think – those numbers match the Bible verse Tebow often refers to, John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
So, as one friend asked on Facebook this morning, “who thinks Tim Tebow’s passing yards are a God thing or just a coincidence?”
Nobody knows for sure, but either way, I think God is having great fun with this. As Tebow wrestled victory away from certain defeat week after week, he captured the attention of the American public and the media. For some, his habit of giving credit to “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” before any post-game comments is bothersome. “Let’s leave God out of this,” they respond.
But at least two biblical truths come to bear here: Philippians 4:13 assures every believer that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And it would appear God has done that, enabling Tebow and his team to prevail even though experts insist he lacks the skills to succeed in “the league.”
Also, in the Old Testament, God declared, “Those who honor me I will honor” (1 Samuel 2:30). This seems what Tebow has been striving to do, rather than thumping his chest or showboating as NFL prima donnas are inclined to do.
Many other athletes – and coaches – have expressed allegiance to Jesus Christ, but probably none as overtly as Tebow. Whether it’s the preferred “style” or not, from all indications, he’s the real deal. A genuine believer, an incredibly hard-working, determined athlete, and person of integrity.
Today our society seems more polarized on spiritual matters than ever. For decades lawmakers have systematically attempted to exorcise God – and specifically, Jesus Christ – from public discourse. Even as individuals, many of us still use “religion is a personal thing” as a default setting.
But in reality, removing God from the equation effectively tears at the foundations that helped to make the United States what it once was. (I’m not sure that it still is.) Spiritual belief – and non-belief – significantly influence how we each think and live.
As British essayist and novelist C.S. Lewis wrote, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
So if for no other reason, this “Tebow thing” once again brings God to public consciousness. For some, it’s aggravating – or worse.
But if what the Bible says is true, that one day “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11), the sooner we give Him serious consideration the better.