I have been praying for Tim Tebow since he first caught America’s attention as the Heisman trophy winning quarterback for the Florida Gators. Why? Because Tim is a godly man trying to live for Christ in an industry – and culture – that is anything but “Christian.” And he’s doing it in the proverbial fishbowl. Whether he stands or falls the world will see it. And Tebow’s standing or falling will impact the name of Christ.
The last three years have been a wild ride for Tim Tebow. In 2010, he was drafted by Denver in the first round. In 2011, Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs and “Tebowing” hit the national scene. In March 2012, he was traded to the New York Jets, but was released right after the disappointing 2012-13 season. Then Tebow was picked up by the New England Patriots, but things didn’t go well in the preseason. (For more about Tebow’s life, check out this biography.)
Now more than ever, I feel compelled to keep praying for Tebow. On Saturday, the Patriots released him from his contract after just 12 weeks. Tebow is a quarterback without a team. And the world is watching to see how he’ll respond.
Tebow’s Reaction to Adversity
Over the weekend, I was watching too. Tebow made his reaction public via a series of tweets. From @TimTebow:
I would like to thank Mr. Kraft, Coach Belichick, Coach McDaniels and the entire Patriots organization for giving me the opportunity…
…to be a part of such a classy organization. I pray for nothing but the best for you all. I will remain in relentless pursuit…
…of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback. 2 Corinthians 12:9: And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient…
…for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore I will rather…
…boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
As I read through Tebow’s tweets I also read a few Twitter responses. Some supported him and others cut him down. For instance, talk show host Larry King tweeted: @TimTebow is a class act after being released by the @Patriots – I love his statement – he is quite a man. But one antagonist responded: @TimTebow enough with the Jesus quotes.
Tim Tebow – Love Him or Hate Him?
Tim Tebow is a truly polarizing figure. Many sportscasters say disagreement over his athletic ability is the cause of this phenomenon. But I side with others who argue there’s much more to it.
In a June Washington Post article, journalist Elizabeth Tenety wrote:
Over the years, NFL quarterback Tim Tebow’s Christian faith has been part of his intrigue to his supporters, and a turnoff for those who think he is too open about his personal beliefs.
In other words, Tebow’s faith either makes you love him or hate him. Hmm. There is something very biblical in these dramatic responses.
Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?
2 Corinthians 2:15-16
The message of Christ is a sweet smelling perfume to some and the smell of death to others. Those who embody this message – like Tebow – will be embraced by some and rejected by others. It is Christ shining through Tebow’s life that causes such polarization. The “world” hates Tebow because it hates Jesus (John 15:18-21).
Let’s Pray for Tim Tebow
The same people who dislike Tebow because of his faith would love to see him fall. They long to be able to point their fingers and call him a hypocrite. They’re watching closely to catch Tebow in one small slip, in one unkind word.
The pressure against Tebow is tremendous. But the opportunity for him to glorify Christ is even greater. All eyes are on Tebow. Will he capture another spot in the NFL or are his quarterbacking days over?
Honestly, that doesn’t matter in the eternal scope of things. But Tebow’s response matters a great deal. I am praying that God will help him now. Tebow’s in a tight spot and the opposition is rushing in.
I’m praying that God will give him the strength to continue to respond with grace and kindness no matter what his future holds. I’m also praying that Tebow will continue to be light that points those stumbling around in the dark to Christ.