Monday, November 30, 2015

Tim Tebow: An inspiration for a generation of young people

Tim Tebow is back in the news again after his recent breakup with girlfriend and former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo. Reports indicate that Culpo broke up with Tebow because he would not break his vow of no sex before marriage.

Tebow is an inspiration to a generation of young people. He proves that one can be a fierce competitor and a fervent Christian. There was a time in America’s history where clean-cut moral people with good manners were admired. Today, many boorish and immoral people no longer admire good sportsmanship, but enjoy the taunting and ridiculing of opponents by their sports heroes.

Most of us are sick of the foul language and bad image of professional sports. Maybe it’s time to insert moral clauses in professional sports contracts. Our children should emulate people of character, not criminals.

Look at the position that Tebow has put himself in and ask yourself the question– How does he do it?

Tebow has become the most watched example of a Christian American–sworn to chastity, helping the poor, honoring God and helping those in need. At the same time he has all the temptations that come along with his fame– excessive amounts of money that result in women throwing themselves at his feet and no need in the world to care for anyone but himself.

Every single eye in the media and public is acutely on Tebow. His critics are only waiting for the moment when he caves into temptation and his character fails. Needless to say the pressure on the field from defenses is complemented well by an astounding pressure off the field.

How does he do it? How does he deal with the temptation from fame and at the same time further entrench himself in the Christian image? I’d argue that it’s not hard for him at all. He loves doing. He does it only for one reason, Jesus. To thank Him, honor Him, and bring others closer to Him.

Tebow gets that the rationalists in the secular establishment do not get is that all good things, large and trivial, proceed from the Lord. All of Tebow’s considerable talents and blessings – as well as his passing “shortcomings” – were given him solely for the purpose of fulfilling the plan that the Lord has for him. Tebow demonstrates that it is not necessary to be perfect to succeed and that miracles just happen when you use your strengths to overcome your weaknesses.

Perhaps, Tebow’s greatest advantage is that he has faith in the script that the Lord has written for him. He does not need to know the ending or the next plot twist. He follows the directions of the Lord because he understands that, in the grand scheme, delivering his best effort is actually the point of the exercise, not whether he wins or loses games. But of course, when you are positive and faith full, you have a better chance of a positive outcome.

Tebow has the confidence and clarity of purpose born of his faith that God’s plan is the right plan and he will be blessed if he follows it. I would bet that his faith will not be shaken even if the outcome doesn’t happen to be a Super Bowl ring during his NFL career.

This, of course, is 100% contrary to the precepts of secular humanism that has come to dominate public discourse. Born of 18th Century French Rationalism and the scientific method, secularists put the human being at the center of the universe – they have faith in human “rationality” (millenia of butchery, greed and emotionalism to the contrary) and believe in an individual human being’s ability to drive the action of his life.

Tebow understands that he is just an actor in a play that has already been scripted. He has the free will to act well or poorly, but he can’t change the script and has no need to. What Tebow demonstrates, and so many of us struggle with, is complete confidence in the Director’s vision and a willingness to follow direction and accept – not control — outcomes.

Tebow is tapping into a larger universal energy source and is fulfilling the primary mission any of us have on earth – to bear witness to the glory of God.

Many people are jealous that anyone can live the life that Tebow lives off the football field because they know they aren’t strong enough to pull it off. Those who wish his demise are the weakest of all and are waiting anxiously for the day he stumbles so they can point to his failure and forget their personal failings for a while.

Most people don’t understand the strength necessary to hold true to ones convictions as Tebow does, especially the ones he lives by. I’m sure that if you ask Tebow if he is living up to the ideal the media and society has projected upon him, he would say that he falls short of his goal, which by the way is a goal all people not just Christians should be living toward. Imagine what the world would be like if we did.

Tebow is just a football player and there are lots of people in the sports world who try to live a good life. Beyond the anti-abortion commercial Tebow did with his mom, he stays out of the media, he isn’t in anyone’s face looking for people to convert to Christianity or leading his teammates in prayer. He kneels on one knee in silent prayer which is no different from the Sign of the Cross, pointing to the heavens, etc., that other players do.

What has separated him from the pack? Why all the attention?

Tebow runs his own charity and pays staff salaries and administration costs out of his own pocket, leaving 100 percent of fundraising to support the foundation’s outreach. The foundation’s initiatives include teaming up with CURE International on building a children’s hospital in the Philippines, football-themed playrooms in oncology centers, orphan relief, and granting wishes for the terminally ill. He doesn’t just hug a kid on the sidelines for the camera.

What have the rest of us done lately?

Football is a team sport and Tebow is a leader who inspires teammates to play better and for each other. If he was a phony, he would not have the respect of his fellow players – all young men who’ve grown up in an era in which arrogance and material and intellectual self-indulgence are too often the standard for gaining notoriety or a few fans.

Tebow plays for his team and is inspired by his faith. He is a modern sports reminder of a time when Americans did what they had to for each other and for their country and made us the most respected country in world but today generates cynicism among those incapable of thinking about others while mocking others who do.

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