Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reflecting on Tebow Time

As the NFL football season winds down over the next couple of weeks, it is hard not to look back on the season without first thinking of Tim Tebow. The first thing that comes to mind is his clutch play-making abilitites that helped the Denver Broncos go from a 1-4 record to AFC West Division champions, but in light of his on-field success, his faith may have spoken louder than his play.

Most people know Tebow from his college football days at Florida University where he won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and the BCS National Championship in 2007 and 2009. After graduating, he was drafted by the Broncos as the 25th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

What is infinitely more interesting about Tebow than his decorated football career is his life story. Tebow was born in Makati City in the Philippines, to American parents who were serving as Baptist missionaries at the time. His mother, Pamela Elaine is the daughter of a U.S. Army colonel, and his father, Robert Ramsey Tebow II, is a pastor. While pregnant, his mother suffered a life-threatening infection with a pathogenic amoeba. Because of the drugs used to rouse her from a coma and to treat her dysentery, the fetus experienced a severe placental abruption. Doctors had expected a stillbirth and recommended an abortion, even though illegal in the Phillipines, to protect her life, but she decided not to have one. The child born was Tim Tebow. He is the youngest of five children, all of whom were homeschooled by their mother, who worked to instill the family's Christian beliefs along the way.

If you had a chance to listen to any of Tebow’s interviews you would know that he begins each interview by thanking his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He also has become famously known for “Tebowing” which is when he kneels to pray after a scoring drive. The NFL became enamored with him because of his unorthodox style of play (he is a run first quarterback) and his faith.

Many athletes over the years have been Christians but none have put their faith front and center the way Tebow did this past season. During many of his interviews, he stressed that football was second in life to his faith and that he plans on using his football success as a platform to help others less fortunate than himself. He has already put this into practice. Each week before the Denver Broncos football game, he would fly a disabled or handicapped person to the game (many of them children), put them and their family up in a hotel, and personally meet them after the game.

When his teammates were asked what it was like to play with him, almost all of them commented on his faith, noting that his Christian beliefts appeared to be his source of strength. To say he inspired his teammates would be an understatement. Prior to the Broncos making him the starter in week 6, the team was off to an abysmal start, only winning one of their first five games. When Tebow took over, the team won seven of its next eight games with five of the wins coming down to late drives engineered by Tebow in the fourth quarter to win. Yet, during all of the hype and hoopla, Tebow always gave praise to his Lord and Savior and remained humble in victory.

As someone who has been a Christian for more than 20 years, Tebow has been quite an inspiration to me. As a diehard football fan, I never thought I would see the sport I love intersect with my faith in such a powerful way. It reminds me of the parable of the wicked vinedressers in Matthew 21:33-46. The parable speaks of a landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. He leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. When vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. But to his surprise and shock, the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. He sent more servants, more than the first, and they killed them as well. Finally, he sent his son thinking they would at least respect his son but the Scripture says that when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.” So they took the son and killed him.

In this parable, the vinedresser is God the Father and the servants are the prophets. The Son is Jesus Christ. This story illustrates God’s repeated attempts at reaching the nation Israel with His gospel message and their utter rejection. When I see Tim Tebow, I think of God sending someone to reach the football community. Don't laugh. The NFL is the number one sport in America. The Super Bowl is the most watched event every year on television. Last year alone, the game was broadcast in 110 countries. And here comes Tim Tebow with the gospel message and the life to illustrate its power. A man who was supposed to be aborted, alive and playing professional football and witnessing for the Lord. The Bible tells us that God often uses the foolish things of the world to confuse the wise and that he takes individuals of no report, of no status or reputation and uses them for His glory. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

I ask you to join me in praying for Tim Tebow. This off-season and next season will be a whirlwind for him. Please pray for his faith, his testimony, and his efforts to reach the lost. I may be a diehard New England Patriots fan, but I am rooting and praying fervently for Tim Tebow not to win football games but to bring glory to the Savior.
"The believer does not use God's power; God's power uses him."
- Kenneth Wuest

1 comment:

Nancy Aleman said...

We need more Tim Tebows in this world! To God be the glory!

Tebow is in my prayers.

Thank you.