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Oct
26

Sports champion with God in his heart: Tim Tebow

Sports champion with God in his heart: Tim Tebow

This is a long but astonishing story……please read it to the end, and consider adding a comment (Comment button is right under the title).

Tim Tebow is a graduate of Florida University, where he played college football. I first saw him play in his final year there (two years ago), and heard the commentator say he was a remarkable young man. His parents were Christian missionaries, and Tim himself spends his spring breaks and summers ministering to orphans in the Philippines.

They also said he has a tremendous work ethic, and is a man of character. In the game that I watched, a TV close-up revealed he had penned in black just under his eyes the words John 3:16.

I saw Tebow again last Sunday, when he played his first game for the Denver Broncos (NFL) as a starting QB (quarterback). What he did and said in that game were remarkable and inspiring. A brief summary of an outstanding life follows:

Tim Tebow’s sports history:
• As an All-American high school QB you set state records in your position.
• And as a freshman in college, you win a national championship.
• As a sophomore, you win the Heisman trophy, the first time that award (recognizing the nation’s best college football player) has ever been given to a sophomore.

• And as a junior you win another national championship, and are a finalist for the Heisman (again).
• As a senior you lose one game, win your bowl game, and then again are a finalist for the Heisman.
• You graduate from college, and enter the NFL draft…you are arguably the greatest and most decorated college football player in history.

But then ALL the NFL scouts doubt you and tell you that your throwing motion is no good. And how to you respond? By hiring a quarterback coach, and spending months trying to refine that throwing motion. Most athletes would have scoffed at that criticism, let alone someone with your credentials, but not this someone. You work harder and harder to prove the nay-sayers wrong.

This is Tim Tebow. His attitude during criticism is remarkable. His work ethic is unparalleled. He will give you all he has got. (Words courtesy of Brian Schupp).

The NFL game last Sunday: Denver Broncos versus Miami Dolphins
• This was Tebow’s first game as starting QB, but for much of the game the Broncos sputtered. Tebow was sacked seven times as he struggled to identify blitzes, and several throws landed nowhere near a receiver.
• The Broncos appeared beaten when they trailed 15-0 with 5 mins left in the game. At that point Tebow was 4 for 14 for 40 yards…..terrible stats for any QB.
• In the frantic final minutes of the last quarter, Tebow led touchdown drives of 80 and 56 yards sandwiched around a successful onside kick. He scored a 2-point conversion by running in with 17 seconds left to tie the game.

• The field-goal kicker had missed field-goal attempts of 49 and 43 yards earlier in the game, but his kick with 7:24 left in overtime gave Denver the victory over the stunned Dolphins.
• I was told that no team has overcome a 15-point deficit with 5 minutes left in the game since 40 years ago. If you believe in miracles, could this be the hand of God?

Right after the game:
• Tebow knelt down, touched his hand to his forehead, and prayed for just a minute. I wish I knew what words he prayed.
• When interviewed by a TV channel, Tebow started by saying “I give thanks to Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord….” which went out to millions of viewers.

• The last time I heard a similar statement on the football field was by Kurt Warner, QB for the Arizona Cardinals, after a win a couple years ago. Warner was also an avowed Christian who wasn’t afraid to give credit to God. Warner’s story is no less amazing, as while an unsuccessful QB he worked as a clerk in a grocery story. His team eventually won a Superbowl with Warner as QB. But, that’s another story.

Both these men are super role models for our college youth who play sport. God is in their heart when they take the snap, as well as in their daily lives. It shows that we don’t have to do drugs or sex or binge-drink to be cool and successful in our pursuits.

But these champion footballers also make it clear that they are followers of Jesus Christ. They are unmistakably lucid about their personal relationship with Christ. It is the center-of-gravity in their lives, and that is what is inspiring to us. To be honest, I have always felt like cheering for these men when they are on the football field. Do you suppose God cheers for them also? Could God be cheering for us too in our own arena of life?

In the tremendous movie “Chariots of Fire”, in the 1924 Olympic Games the American runner Jackson Scholz walked up to the British runner Eric Liddell (who was an avowed Christian) right before the 400m race and handed him a piece of paper with a verse from 1 Samuel 2:30: “He who honors Me, I will honor”. Although he was a 100m specialist, Liddell won this race, grasping the note in his hand the entire way around the track.

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

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Post-script:
Tim’s father Bob, a missionary in the Philippines, had been weeping over the millions of babies aborted in America. It was then that he prayed “God, if you give me a son, I’ll raise him to be a preacher”. When Pam Tebow learned she was expecting, the parents’ faith was put to the test. After a series of grave complications, doctors encouraged them to abort the child, but they refused. Born small and weak, Tim struggled from the beginning, but his dad continued to tell him, “God’s got a purpose for you, and at some point, He’s going to call you to preach”. [Above words by Mark Earley, 2009]
Tim Tebow is now preaching to 90,000 football fans each week, and to millions of TV viewers.

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8 Responses to Sports champion with God in his heart: Tim Tebow

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  2. I love Tim! I have an athlete for a son, and we always have a person to look to as to what a Christian athlete looks like…They are champions in every way from the bottom up or the inside out, whichever you prefer. If Tim never won a football game, we know what his life is about. When God gets the glory on such a large stage…it makes my eyes water. I’m serious. This nation is starving for the “real deal”. Tim gives hope to a generation that can change this nation one person at a time. When fame and fortune destroys so many unsuspecting lives, it is refreshing to see someone dedicated to lifting up His name first and always. Notice how the light draws people! You are hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t cheer for Tebow…except for Tennessee fans perhaps! 🙂

    • Your words are well-chosen. I especially liked your comment that “the light draws people”. We discussed this recently at my Home-Study group as we were going through the gospel of Luke. It made me wonder how much my light shines. Jesus is the “phos” which is the Greek word for “light-source”, and is where our word “phosphorescence” comes from.

  3. Garrick Little |

    Very insightful comments! As a Christian who likes to watch more sport on TV than I should I am …yes even thrilled to see a fellow Christian succeed in that environment while sincerely thanking God for his success. There is a fine line to be negotiated between portraying God as one who plays favorites and a God who rewards the pure in heart who speak out of a transparent motive, not as one who has “co-opted God to endorse his own selfish ambitions. Kurt Warner and Tim Tebow are such men. They seem to see their lives in terms of using their moment in the sun to bring glory to God through their athletic achievements. They don’t seek the limelight but rather it seems to find them. This appears to happen for the very reason that they don’t strive for attention but are willing to give their all for the job God has assigned them for a “season of life”.

    • Good comments Garrick. I pondered your words “They don’t seek the limelight but rather it seems to find them”, and I think you explain this by God rewarding the pure in heart who give God glory through their achievements. Well said! Down at my level, I think thankfulness is a part of this, and I am trying to be more thankful to God…….. that I can run, and see, and think, and talk to friends, et cetera (and of course the gift of life). It definitely offsets the daily worries!

  4. I have a son that is an athlete and I pray that no matter how far he goes, he will always be an inspiration to anyone watching. I’m thankful for good role models like Tim.

    • Right on Christina. I was actually praying for Tebow last Sunday, when the Broncos played the Raiders, and he didn’t look good in the first half. But then everything changed, and Tebow and his running back played well, and they beat the Raiders on their own turf! Maybe God was cheering him on.

    • Scott, his last three games were poor, but life goes like that. Several “miracle” weeks, then the train crashes. Now the doubters are back. I think the Steelers will win, coz they are finals-hardened, but i suspect that Tebow and the Broncos will do a lot better than what many folks are expecting. I hope the Denver coaches are huddling this week to try a change in strategy…..it looked to me like Tebow was too restricted last week…..I hope they let him use his skills and intuition when he plays this week…..give him more freedom. All the best for the new year Scott.

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