Today Tim Tebow is a hero. The accolades are beginning to pile up like the winter snow. It wasn’t always like that. In fact it wasn’t like that just minutes before the game Sunday when every football analyst in American predicted that he couldn’t lead his team to victory over the number one defense in the NFL. You don’t have to be a football fan to have heard about Tim Tebow. What you may not have heard, unless you are a football fan, is the intense scrutiny that he has had to endure as an NFL player. I don’t know if there has ever been another football player coming out of college into the professional ranks who has received the same type of scrutiny that he has received – and not all of it has been related to his ability to play football.
Before we go too far here, we need to be honest and admit that Tim Tebow isn’t the greatest football talent anyone has ever seen. You can question his throwing motion, his decision making and his talent, and rightly so. One thing you cannot question is his heart. But heart doesn’t consistently win games. It can take you to a point but no farther.
Having said that, it’s also fair to say that a lot of the scrutiny that Tim Tebow has received has been related to his faith and that’s unfortunate. Yes, he wears his faith openly, but so have other Christian athletes. Reggie White comes to mind. I don’t remember Reggie being criticized the way Tim has been. Maybe his size had something to do with it – or his talent. There has been, among the media and certain football players, a bias against Tim’s faith that is obvious to any objective observer.
That’s one of the things that I find impressive about Tim Tebow. With all of the scrutiny, with all of the negative press, with all of the criticism and mocking of his faith, he has not backed away. He has not chosen to remain quiet. Many twenty-four year olds would have been intimidated and chosen to keep their faith to themselves. Many fifty-four year olds would have been. He has a remarkable spiritual maturity for someone so young. And that’s admirable. I admire Tim for his leadership qualities, his heart on the football field, and his passion for the game. But I admire him more for his love for Christ. And that may be his lasting legacy. I doubt that Tim Tebow will ever be in the Football Hall of Fame. He doesn’t display that caliber of talent. I would love to be wrong, but I doubt it. What is more important is not the legacy that he will leave on the playing field but the legacy of a life lived well for God. His example should inspire all of us to live the life of faith, regardless of age; whether you are a fan of the game or not.
The words of the Apostle Paul to another young man of his day are appropriate, not only for Tim Tebow, but for all of us: Let no one despise you because of your age, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).
Wear your faith openly. Wear it well.
Stay in the Word