January 9, 2012

Tim Tebow, not Bowing to Critics but to God

Today I want to tell you about a really amazing Christian named Tim Tebow.  He happens to be an NFL football player, currently playing for the Denver Broncos.  But even more remarkable is that he's had such an impact on Football that a pose has been named after him, Bills in two state legislatures have been named after him and a Marvel Comic has been created representing him.   ESPN has even made two documentaries about him!
Tim Tebow was born in the Phillippines while his parents were serving there as Christian Missionaries.   His mother became seriously ill during her pregnancy and doctors advised her to terminate the pregnancy.  She refused.  People told her that her baby would be born with serious disabilities, but she could not be prevailed upon, probably due to their religious beliefs.  Tim was born as a perfectly healthy boy!  Doctors called it a miracle.  Tim would go on to do many other things that would be termed miraculous.
At the age of 6, Tim thoughtfully approached his parents with the desire to commit to Christianity and follow Jesus Christ.  Over the years, his goals became to be right with Jesus and to lead his football team to glory on the field.  As a Homeschooler, in most states he wouldn't be able to play sports with the school teams.  But in Florida, where he grew up, the law allows home schooled students to play on the school teams where they live.  Tim began playing for the local high school team and soon excelled.  His success prompted two bills before Alabama and Kentucky, named the Tim Tebow Bill, to enact legislation to force schools to allow home schooled athletes the right to play on public school teams.  They are still pending. 
Tim's High School teammates either loved him or hated him because he wasn't braggy or proud.  He treated girls properly and publicly shared his commitment to be a virgin.  He wouldn't swear and stayed out of trouble.  The bad kids on the team hated him because Tim showed them that they could behave better.  The good kids were glad they didn't stand alone.  While on his High School team, he began what would later become known as 'Tebowing.'  When he felt like praying, he would drop to one knee, remove his helmet and close his eyes in prayer, even in public places.  Now this is a worldwide phenomenon.  On a website, people post photos of themselves 'Tebowing' everywhere, at the Statue of Liberty, the Parthenon, the Eiffel Tower, and so forth.  Some do it to mock him.  Tim said of this, "I think it's cool.  You don't know the heart of people.  But I tend to think the best of people and believe they are doing it for the best reasons."  'Tebowing' has now been accepted as a verb in the English language by the Global Language Monitor!  So he has created a verb!
After High School, he accepted a scholarship with the Florida Gators and played well for a rookie.  He won the team's Most Valuable Player award three of the four years he played there.  While there, he was awarded the Heisman trophy.  He spent four years there, although he could have quit early and played for the NFL.  Instead, he finished his Bachelors degree in Family, Youth and Community Sciences. 
Tim was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2010 and is doing very well playing for them.  As of Sunday, they are within striking distance of playing in the Super Bowl!  The Broncos started out poorly this season, but since Tim has taken over as Quarterback, they have won 7 of 8 games.  And many of them have been won in the last quarter as an upset, or a miracle.  This coming weekend they will play their second playoff game, this one against the New England Patriots.  They must win 2 more Post season games to make it to the Super Bowl.  That won't be easy, the teams ahead of them are really strong.  But who knows!
His success has prompted Marvel Comics to create a superhero character (Super Tim) based on him.  You can watch a fun video about it at http://frontrow.espn.go.com/2011/12/super-hero-emerges-from-marvelling-at-tebow/
What I like about Tim Tebow is that he isn't afraid to demonstrate his commitment to his Christian faith.  In fact, he's rather bold in showing it.  He used to paint scriptural references in his eye black (the black lines under the eyes of football players) until the NFL issued the 'Tebow Rule' which effective banned messages in the eye black.  During one game, where Tim put John 3:16 on his eye black, he set off 92 million Google searches for that reference.  That's a lot of people looking up scriptures because of Tim! 
Even when people are ugly back, like they sometimes are to Christians, Tim is kind in return.  A late night talk show host made public fun of Tim (using terrible profanity) when they suffered a loss in their football game on Christmas Eve.  Tim's only response was this, which he tweeted, "Tough game today but what's most important is being able to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas everyone GB2."  (GB2 means 'God Bless' + Go Broncos' = BG2)  There are apparently websites showing this hatred like tebowhaters.com  and a Facebook page "I Hate Tim Tebow."  But Tim is always nice back, just as Jesus would be.  Tim said once, of his detractors, "I know who holds tomorrow.  That's what gives me comfort in all situations, from the praise to the haters."
Some say that this mix of humility and devotion, combined with his public presence makes him like the newest Billy Graham.  It's just great to watch him stand up for his beliefs!  We too can be strong and do our best, but ask for help from God when we need it.  We can be kind to those who are mean.  We can live the gospel in spite of the critics who think we should live the way the rest of the world does. 

Information from:
Gregory, Sean. "Football's Leap of Faith. Does Tim Tebow win with skill, luck-- or a 'miracle'?" Time 19 December 2011: 48-49.
Meacham, Jon. "Tebow's Testimony. What his faith on the field means for the future of American Evangelicalism." Time 16 January 2012: 40-42.

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