Tim Richards is one of my favorite columnists. I’ve received permission to reprint this one about Tim Tebow. For comments you can email Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve considered writing about Tim Tebow for some time. I frequently write about people, but usually not about anyone quite as well known. The Denver Broncos’ quarterback has many who admire his Christian faith. On the other hand, he has more than his share of critics who are clearly put off by his strong faith.
Very few Christians are as vocal about their faith as Tebow. I’ve been somewhat surprised by the very negative reaction many have to the superstar, especially since it’s common to hear horrible stories about professional athletes’ behavior.
By contrast, Tebow is a straight arrow. To coin an old phrase, while no one is perfect, he actually practices what he preaches. He acknowledges God publicly, but he also lives his faith when he’s away from the camera. I’ve heard numerous, far less reported stories, about how he visits sick children and does what he can to help those down on their luck.
The way Tebow and the Broncos played at the end of the current season has brought him even more attention. The team repeatedly won games in the final quarter and often in dramatic ways. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that a recent Poll Position survey discovered that when asked, “Do you believe that any of Tim Tebow’s success can be attributed to divine intervention?” a full 43% of those polled said yes.
Can prayer make a difference in the world of professional sports? If you’ve watched the star it’s obvious from the way he acknowledges God that Tebow prays, probably a lot. But, who is responsible for his success, the player or His God?
My answer is likely to frustrate those who believe God should get all the credit as well as those who think Tebow should. I’m convinced both God and Tebow deserve recognition. There certainly are Biblical examples of times when God chose people who didn’t have the talent to do what they were asked. However, even then God always rewarded the faithfulness of those He used.
The other stand out characteristic about Tebow is how hard he works. Even his critics who initially didn’t think he would survive the NFL usually hedged their opinions by admitting it was possible he would make it simply because of his great work ethic.
I believe our ability and opportunities come from God, but that doesn’t mean God does not expect us to work with what He’s given us. Isn’t that exactly what Tebow has done? It’s a fact that his personality and skills are very different from ours; however, I’m convinced each of us can learn important lessons about how to live our own lives from the superstar. In the end we all have the same basic spiritual responsibility: to acknowledge God and to use the gifts He’s given us to honor Him and help others.