I don’t remember the year, but I won’t forget the moment. My wife and I were in Jacksonville, FL for the annual pastor’s conference at the First Baptist Church. We had just started the Sunday morning worship service, and we had sat just behind some cordoned off pews. After the first few verses of congregational singing the ushers came down and brought a family in to sit in front of us. It was the Tebow family, and Tim and one of his brothers sat right in front of us. Florida had just won their second National Championship; (whooopi do, I’m a Razorback fan.) Having seen this young man play, at that time, three years, for Florida, I thought I had a pretty good picture of him. That is until I saw the width and strength of his shoulders. They are huge! I could not get over the breadth and apparent strength of this young man’s back between his shoulders. It is no wonder at all that coaches have tried to put him at the linebacker’s spot. Quarterbacks are generally taller, more slender and streamlined. Tim is more like a Tractor on two legs with a jet engine in the middle. To borrow his own words from his book he is what you call, “farmer strong.”
I used to wonder what a Quarterback would need those great big shoulders for; but I don’t anymore. Those shoulders no doubt have come in handy in carrying the weight of the world of criticism that he has endured over the last two plus years. From those who cannot stand his doctrine, to those who pick apart his mechanics, I cannot think of another person in any other industry who has been the subject of such microscopic scrutiny. Except for maybe George Bush, who was blamed for everything from freezing ice caps, to springs rains, and summer heat. Tim has become the subject of social conversation, far beyond the football world.
I cannot say exactly why, but there are some things that I don’t think can be ignored, that in all actuality have more to do with society than they do with Tim Tebow.
Off the field. – Tim Tebow is the kind of guy that people are supposed to be. Genuine, humble, selfless, morally pure and spiritually grounded. He is not perfect, he is not sinless, but he is genuine, and he seeks to bring glory to Jesus Christ. He is not the first athlete, nor is he the only person in life that are the kind of guys that people are supposed to be. Taking nothing away from Tim Tebow, I am blessed to know lots of people who live the way that Tim lives. I know young men who have unashamedly saved themselves for marriage, are proudly pro-life, evangelistic in their character, and fully trust the Bible as the Word of God. The difference is that the world does not have their lives under the microscope. May I say this and like minded Christians understand it; off the field, what the world sees in Tim, they would see in hundreds of thousands of people just like him. He is unique as an athlete, but not as a Christian. Tim has carried our lives onto the public stage and the media has blown a gasket. What he says, and stands for as a Christian is not abnormal at all for those who are Christians! It is a sad state of affairs if there are any professing Christians surprised that someone is actually living like it. Simply put, though not sinless, for many in this world, Tim Tebow is a visible source of moral and spiritual conviction. Whatever vitriol that is poured out on Tim due to his faith and lifestyle, is primarily aimed at all of us who hold to the fact that “No one comes to the Father but by” Jesus. He carries the bulls eye for all of those with a passionate rejection of all things Biblical; thank the Lord for his big broad shoulders. There is simply no denying that much of the off-the-field angst towards Tim, is a wholesale reaction to all of Biblical Christianity, and not only Tim Tebow.
At the risk of turning this into a “sports debate”, I will just say this about Tim on-the-field. I do not believe his on-the-field criticism has as much to do with his faith as it does to publicly prove that the experts really aren’t experts. No man likes to be told he is wrong and nothing is more frustrating to the human ego than to watch someone do what you have said can’t be done. Make no mistake about it, Tim is not making friends with people who say he can’t play quarterback and they’ve got the football minds to prove it. I doubt very seriously that Ryan Stewart, Merrill Hoge, or Mel Kiper will be “more-credible” at the end of Tim’s career than they are now. I am still amazed that the NFL would not rather have a league full of “Tebows” than of “T.O.’s”
In short, publicly speaking, Tim Tebow is on and off the field what many in society says isn’t credible or can’t be successful, and the truth before their eyes is unwelcomed.
My family and I pray every day for Tim Tebow. Not for wins. For strength. (I’m a KC fan) I pray that the Lord will shield him from the temptations and traps of the world the flesh and the devil. I pray that the Lord will strengthen his spiritual shoulders. I pray for his family; I cannot imagine the pain his father and mother endure listening to the ruthless ridicule of their son.
The Apostle Peter wrote in 1st Peter 4:16 – “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” 1 Peter 4:14 Then in verse 16 he said, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” I can think of no other encouragement to give to Tim Tebow than to say keep on keeping on and let the Lord be glorified. Any kind of change now, would not be worth making.