Are the Denver Broncos God’s favorite team since Tim Tebow was drafted? Based on the Broncos January 14 NFL play-off game, probably not!
But seriously, as mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t think God is concerned which team wins a particular game. Apparently not everyone thinks the way I do. A poll conducted on January 8 by Poll Position asked if God is responsible for Tim Tebow’s success on the football field. Forty-three percent thought God directly caused Tebow to be successful, although 42% believed God did not help him. (Fourteen percent had no opinion.)
The way the question was worded, the results could be interpreted in different ways. Some anchors and commentators thought that people believed God has somehow changed the action during games to allow the Broncos to win. Others made a more reasonable interpretation that Tebow’s faith helps him to be successful – although many seem at a loss to understand how that faith makes a difference.
Being a Christian can help anyone do better at any task. The Bible teaches that hard work is important:
* “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart ” (Colossians 3:23 – New International Version)
* “Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you ” (1 Thessalonians 5:12 – NIV)
* “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10 – NIV)
A January 13 CBS News report about Tebow mentioned that he arrives at the stadium on game day earlier than almost everyone else and throws dozens of passes to warm up.
People who regularly help those who are less fortunate are more thankful for what they have. Tebow’s charity and missions work help him remember that football is just a game, that every day many people struggle with illness or poverty or other problems.
Christians know that God guides people to certain actions by what many believers call the “still, small voice” of the Holy Spirit. They believe that God knows what is best for our lives in the long-run, not just for a moment. With that knowledge and a strong work ethic, Tebow can find joy in each team victory and accept their defeats without depression.
Christians who abstain from alcohol and sexual encounters face many temptations, but resisting temptations makes a person stronger. And it frees up time for other things – in Tebow‘s case the previously mentioned practice time and charity work. Avoiding excessive drinking also ensures Tebow will not practice or play a game with a hang-over, which increases his chances of success.
In the Old Testament God gave hundreds of rules to the Israelites. When you analyze who the rules pertain to, and what/how punishment for violating the rules was applied, you see that value is placed on people over possessions, material gain or status. During Tebow’s collegiate career at the University of Florida, we often heard about how he encouraged the team. He values people and inspires them to give their best because they know Tebow believes in them and will also give his best.
Tebow’s leadership and enthusiasm help the entire Broncos team to do better. The publicity from his charitable work is also good for the team’s reputation.
I’m not saying that Tebow will have more success in the NFL than players who are not Christians. But I am saying that Tebow’s faith will not have a downside for his career if critics will complain only about what happens during the football games. I’ve heard that Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers is a Christian. San Francisco’s Vernon Davis thanked God in an interview immediately after the 49ers’ play-off win over the Saints. And I’ve seen various players “tebow” (kneel in prayer) after touchdowns even before Tim Tebow was born. But faith has been mostly ignored in the NFL until Tebow arrived.
Yes, Tebow is more vocal about his faith than many other Christians. For some reason that bothers some people – often the same people who say “live and let live” for any other lifestyle someone might desire to follow. I have never heard Tebow or any other Christian athlete complain that their critics lack of faith bothers them. Tebow should be given the same kind of respect.