I Got Tebowed: Why I’m changing my tune
I have not been a Tim Tebow supporter from the beginning. On the football side I’m still not sure he can make a run of it long-term based purely on skill (though he may be showing all those intangibles and hard work actually are enough), but here I’m talking more about him as a representative of Christianity. I thought the Bible verses on the eye black were hokey. The kneel down to pray, now affectionately known as “Tebowing”, looked put on and inauthentic. I became even more cynical of the whole situation when people around Denver began linking what Tim Tebow was doing to a significant spiritual movement of the Holy Spirit in the area. They claimed that God was helping Tebow win football games to show His power—an idea I wasn’t a big fan of to put it mildly.
I’m changing my tune. Not necessarily on all the things I said above, but at least on Tim Tebow as a representative of Jesus to the world. Here’s why.
It began when I saw this video of Tim being “miked up” during a recent game.
I would have been cussing after some of those hits. When he knelt down he was actually praying. He prayed for God’s help in the game but also prayed for God to be glorified win or lose. I was struck by his authenticity, humility, and sincerity.
I heard 1 Peter 2:12 being fulfilled through my radio and TV. (“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”)
I listen to sports talk radio regularly when I’m in the car and I often catch some ESPN programming at the gym. At the beginning of Tebow-mania most commentators, both local and national, gave a glib shot out to Tebow being a “good guy” and then went on to criticize him for a whole host of things—football related and otherwise. Yet in the last week nearly everyone I hear has changed their tune. Though many still doubt his football abilities (I’m still there too), person after person is lauding his attitude, humility, sacrifice, and character—and you can tell they mean it. All that Tebowing, building hospitals, visiting sick children, and proclaiming his allegiance to Jesus is real and people see it. He’s won over some voracious critics and made them more favorably disposed to Jesus and Christianity in the process. I don’t know if they’re praising God yet, but maybe some are.
I saw faithful presence.
This is a term I was introduced to in James Davison Hunter’s book “To Change the World.” It refers to Christians living their lives as a unified vocation to the Lord rather than a series of fragmented pieces devoted to different gods. He rightly calls Christians to be faithfully present in whatever venue they find themselves. Tim Tebow is doing that in the NFL. In an environment of pride, arrogance, fame, money, materialism, and sex, Tebow is being a faithful representative of Jesus. It’s impressive.
So yeah, I’m praying for Tim. I’m praying that God sustains him in an environment full of temptation. I’m praying he continues to be a model of faithful presence for believers and a light to those who don’t believe. And, given the results I see, I wouldn’t be surprised if God continues to “strengthen the work of his hands.”