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Dec
19

Tim Tebow and when should we publicly acknowledge God?

Tim Tebow and when should we publicly acknowledge God? This story leads to a personal question: when should we give God credit, personally or publicly? If you have a different view, please feel free to comment on this blog. Please forward this bedtime blog to someone you know who might appreciate this.

Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog on Tim Tebow. It was right after his first full game of the season, and the Denver Broncos were 1 and 4. In the final 5 minutes, down 15-0, Tebow and the Broncos came alive and won the game. To me, it looked like a miracle finish.

On Sunday December 11, as I was getting on a plane at DFW, Dewey called me from Houston.
“Are you watching the game?” he asked.
“No, what’s happening?” I responded.
“Well the Chicago Bears made a couple mistakes, in the final minutes, and Denver kicked a 59-yard goal (which in the NFL is a very long kick) to tie the game. In overtime, Denver won the game with another long kick. It was like a miracle!”

The football commentators on TV choose their words carefully. While discussing the Dec 11 game, yet another fourth quarter comeback by Tebow and the Denver team (Tebow has engineered four such, and only one other team has ever matched this), I heard the words “inexplicable”, “magical”, and “a miracle”. Under Tebow, Denver has won 6 of the last 7 games as I write, and the team is now leading the AFC Western Division. But it surprised me that none of the commentators used the word “God”.

Dewey called it a miracle because he is an avowed Christian, and for most of his life has circulated amongst people who believe in miracles in the Biblical record, as well as in this century. He was just being candid.

I think folks are reluctant to ascribe events like this to God, because the neighbors would quickly point out that (1) there are good Christians on the opposing team, and (2) if God does stuff like this, why doesn’t he clean up the crime in Houston, or feed the dying children (25,000 people around the world die each day of preventable causes related to their poverty**)? It’s a fair question. Why did God allow the Hebrew tribes to suffer as slaves for hundreds of years, before helping them escape by imposing a dozen dramatic supernatural disasters on their Egyptian masters?

The journalist Christopher Hitchens died this week at 61. A strict atheist, he forcefully claimed during an interview before his death by cancer that he would never come to God. This is one extreme of pride. At the other extreme, we have Tim Tebow who is willing to give thanks and credit to God, even when he throws a touchdown.

God certainly allowed lots of miracles in Bible times. An assistant lost an axehead in a waterhole, so the prophet threw a stick in the water, and the axehead floated to the surface. Shadrach and his buddies, bound with ropes, should have been incinerated, but instead were seen walking around the furnace with a fourth man, and their robes didn’t even smell of smoke when they were extricated. And at the edge of Jerusalem, Peter and John healed a man who had been crippled since birth. God can intervene, no question. But does he always? No. Even when we don’t understand (surprise!) why God doesn’t intervene, maybe this is all the more reason to thank him when we do think we see his hand moving.

So when, personally or publicly, should we give thanks and credit to God? Tebow offers an answer in terms of pride and balance. First, he is a man of strong character, but humble, and he always gives credit to the rest of the Denver team. No arrogance in him. Second, he is raising money to build a hospital in the Philippines, where his parents have long done missionary work. If we are willing to give thanks to God for personal help, we better also be helping others. Looking inward and looking outward. Helping someone to hope***. Trying to be salt and light.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up”. Daniel 3:17-18

The Gray Nomad.
Probing the practice of Christian believers….

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** “The Hole in Our Gospel”, by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision (Thomas Nelson, 2009).

*** “Hiking Toward Heaven”, by Ian Palmer (Authorhouse, 2010).

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6 Responses to Tim Tebow and when should we publicly acknowledge God?

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  2. Garrick Little |

    First of all I think we should give recognition to God for His part in the lives of His saints. (by saints I mean all true believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour)! I just finished reading a book by Steve McVey called, “Grace Walk”. This book is about how a man discovered that living the Christian life is really about letting the life of Christ live through us. It is His power lived through us that makes great things possible. God is pleased when the focus is on Himself when His servants such as Tim Tebow give proper acknowledgement to God as Lord and Saviour. When this recognition is made with humility and complete authenticity then the focus is put where it belongs and God gets the glory. The key point is that none of us can really do great things in our own strength; we are in fact much more dependent on God than we realize. I believe the Bible teaches that none of us come to a knowledge of God except that God reveals Himself to us. God is also the one that keeps us saved so no one and no thing can snatch us out of His hand. There are many verses in the Bible that make this point and it is a great comfort to discover this. It is God’s plan that we all have a testimony for God and that we allow the power of His life to be lived out in our lives. For most of us we fall short of this possibility because either we are not aware that this is God’s plan for us or we only live in God’s power for short periods at a time rather than a daily walk. When I look at Tim Tebow’s life I see someone who lives a life fully committed to allowing the life of Christ to be lived out in his life continuously. As a result God is honored as the source of the success of Tim’s life as Tim’s conduct points back to his Saviour.

  3. Thank you Ian for sharing your blog with me. I believe we shoud pray in public and praise God at all times. When we stand up and show our faith, we might acually be giving someone else the courage to do the same. It’s such a sad state of our world that the few atheists and nonbelievers let their voices be heard while all the many so-called Christians sit back and stay quiet so as not to offend anyone! We pray in public as a family. I will even ask my patients if they would like to pray (despite the fact that I would probably get in trouble if anyone ever complained!). I encourage my children to pray at school. Tim Tebow is an amazing human being for so many reasons. I applaud him most for publicly proclaiming his faith. Who cares who we offend when we pray or prophesy publicly? I’m offended daily by all the non-Christians!! And they don’t care that they are offending me because they don’t answer to a higher being! Let’s all stand up and profess our faith!

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