September 24, 2009
Tim Tebow, quarterback for the University of Florida Gators
Why can’t I hate Tim Tebow? Hate may be a strong word, but every big blue fiber of my Kentucky Wildcat fandom tells me to cheer against him in every game. He has two national titles, a Heisman trophy, and several SEC records, but he refuses to go away. Tebow and his football immortality continues to give headaches to every SEC coach, player, and fan. However, I somehow always find myself cheering for him (except against UK, of course).
Tim Tebow’s story is a made for TV movie waiting to happen. His mother almost died due to pregnancy complications, he was born and spent his early years in the Philippines because his parents were doing missionary work, he was homeschooled and almost did not get to play high school sports, and he is now considered one of the best college football players of all time. Interesting story, but not enough to make me a fan.
The one thing that sets Tim apart from any athlete I have ever seen is the way he displays his faith. Sure, it is common to see athletes point to the sky when they make a big play, or have tattoos of crosses on their bodies. They may even thank God in a post game interview when things are going well for them. But when I watch Tebow play and speak to the media, I don’t see a football player that loves God, I see a Christian that plays football.
It is great that he ends all of his interviews by saying, “God bless.” But not only does he thank God in his interviews, God is the common thread. God gave him the ability to play. God has kept him and his teammates healthy. God has been gracious enough to give Tim the notoriety and fame to use for God’s glory, not his own. How can somebody so famous and gifted be so selfless? Simple, he has his priorities straight.
Tebow spends the majority of the off season each year traveling and speaking about how God can work through people. He spends the rest of his time doing mission work both in the U.S. and abroad. To see him doing these things or to hear him talk about it, you can tell that while he is passionate about football, he realizes that his life is his ministry.
On the field, the scripture on his eye black is a nice touch. But you should pay attention to the respect that the other players and even the coaches have for him. They know that he is the real deal. They see how hard he works so that he can be in the position he is in to share the gospel. To hear what they say about him and see they way they look at him during a game, I cannot help but to respect him.
You may not like Florida (and you shouldn’t), you may be cheering your heart out for the Wildcats this Saturday (C-A-T-S, Cats, Cats, Cats!), but do yourself a favor and pay attention to the way Tim Tebow carries himself. While he is indeed one of the most competitive individuals you will ever see, he is a great example of how we should use our current roles in life (student, player, employee, family member) to point to the glory of God. May he lose by 100 points on Saturday, but I pray that my colleagues and friends will look at me the way Tim Tebow’s teammates look at him. Think about it.