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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Danger of Tebow

If you haven't heard of Tim Tebow, you're obviously not a sports fan. Tim Tebow is a football phenom who is currently the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos. "Oh, how nice," the non-fans are saying. "So?" Tebow is known, above all else -- get this -- as a Christian. Yes, that's right, an outspoken, unwavering, clear-as-day Christian. He began life as the son of Baptist missionaries in the Philippines. He was educated as a homeschooled kid. (That raises eyebrows.) Florida law allows homeschoolers to participate in local high school sports, so Tim played football. Turned out he excelled at football, so Tim and his mother moved into town and got him into the best high school football program they could find. There he became Florida's "Player of the Year" ... two years in a row. He went on to play for the Florida Gators and went to the Philippines during summer breaks to help his father out with orphanage and missionary work. He won the Heisman Trophy and graduated from college in 2009 despite being asked to be in the NFL draft that year. He was drafted by the Broncos in 2010 and started the 2011 season as the backup quarterback. The starting quarterback was struggling, so Tebow was sent in and the rest was history. (I know, not much, but, it's just a saying, okay?) Before Tim was put in, the team was 1-4. Now they're 7-5. If you didn't do the math, that's 6-1 in the win/loss column -- a good showing for a young quarterback. But that's not what makes Tebow a standout.

No, no, what makes him a standout is his clear faith. In a 2009 interview, he told the world that he was a virgin and planned to remain that way until he married. In 2010, the NCAA passed a rule dubbed "The Tebow Rule" that precluded players from having messages in their face paint (you know, that black stuff they put under their eyes) because Tebow was known for wearing messages there. According to ESPN, 94 million people Googled John 3:16 after seeing it on his face in a 2009 BCS Championship Game. And, of course, there is now a new term: "tebowing". What's that? It's when you take a knee and pray in the middle of what you're doing. Lindsey Vonn did it after winning her first World Cup race. It made Time Magazine's "The Top 10 Everything of 2011" list. He doesn't drink, doesn't swear, is saving himself for marriage, is not quiet about his faith ... Tim Tebow is a standout Christian.

So ... what's the danger here? That they'll make fun of him? Too late. In fact, it's a given. That some people won't like him? That, too, is a given. Charles Barkley is begging the Bears to shut him down because Barkley just can't stand the guy. "If I don't ever hear the words Brett Favre or Tim Tebow again it won't be enough." That's to be expected. Nothing new in the world's response to a person openly dedicated to Christ.

No, the danger is to Christians. It's easy for us to get sucked into this notion that because Tim is being faithful to Christ, God is blessing him with victory. It's easy for us to conclude that doing what is right and standing for the truth will bring us warmth and comfort and good times. It will absolutely bring us blessing, but let's not confuse that with pleasure. Here, check yourself. If Tim Tebow was to start losing for the rest of the season, would it make you think, "I wonder if Tim is in sin?" That's a clue.

We are blessed by God. We are His and He blesses His own. We are not blessed to some paltry, worldly level of blessing. Ours is a blessing that exceeds standard earthly measure. Don't get caught in that trap. It's much more than that! I'd hate for you to miss it because it's so much better than that.


Craig said...

With all the shots at Tebow lately, I find it strange that the comments of Deirdre Pujols aren't getting much play. IMO, much more damaging.

Stan said...

Not familiar with her or her comments.

Craig said...

I heard some quotes yesterday from an interview she gave on a Christian radio station that they own or substantially fund. You might have to do some searching for exact quotes, but IMO much more damaging than Tebow. Here's a couple of quotes and a link.

"Deidre Pujols, speaking with interviewer Sandi Brown, who is her friend, said the couple initially had no plans to ever leave St. Louis or the Cardinals, the only team the first baseman had ever played for.

"When it all came down, I was mad. I was mad at God because I felt like all the signs that had been played out through the baseball field, our foundation, our restaurant, the Down Syndrome Center, my relationships, my home, my family close," Deidre Pujols told the station. "I mean, we had no reason, not one reason, to want to leave. People were deceived by the numbers."

She indicated the key moment was the Cardinals' initial offer of five years and $130 million.

"When you have somebody say 'We want you to be a Cardinal for life' and only offer you a five-year deal, it kind of confused us," Deidre Pujols said. "Well, we got over that insult and felt like Albert had given so much of himself to baseball and into the community ... we didn't want to go through this again."

Deidre Pujols told the station the negative reaction in St. Louis over her husband's decision to sign with the Angels has been striking.

"Albert has never lied. People are like 'Oh, we thought we knew who he was.' Well, we thought we knew who they were," she told the station.

"The city of St. Louis has absolutely been deceived and I have never seen hatred spread so fast and I understand why," she added. "Let me say that Albert and I never, not one time, ever made plans to leave this city.""

"It's just like God," she said at the end of the interview, "to put us on a team called the Angels."

Stan said...

Yeah, when you commented on her, I googled it and found that. In what sense do you mean "damaging"?

Craig said...

Damaging in the sense that it makes Christians look bad.

Stan said...

It sure doesn't make her look good.

Craig said...

No, it really doesn't. It does seem that there is a strain in the Latin American catholic church that is a little more "superstitious" or somehow attributing actions directly to God when they are not. Not that God doesn't ultimately control everything, I just don't think He necessarily intervenes in Albert Pujols contract negotiations. Anyway, I suspect, that it has something to do with something I've seen in Haiti where you have this intermingling of Catholicism with whatever native religion is prevalent in the culture.

Stan said...

It's interesting in contrast to Tebow who openly denies that his success in football is because God is blessing him for being good. He argues that God doesn't care about sports. I don't know if that's completely accurate, but I get the idea.