Luke 12:48 -
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked"
I am a Browns fan from birth (pray for me) and because of “The Drive” and “The Fumble” my fellow Milk-Bone tossing friends and I aren’t historically big Denver Broncos advocates. That being said I’ve got to admit that I’ve been won over by Tim Tebow. The guy is a true warrior with an unquenchable thirst for victory. Unfortunately for Tim Tebow, apparently he’s on trial.
Obviously, whoever coined the phrase “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink” has never met Tim Tebow. The second year quarterback out of Florida is now 5-1 after taking the Bronco’s reigns from Kyle Orton. Tebow is a former Heisman Trophy Winner, National Champion, a NFL 2010 first round draft pick and an all around class act. And he and the Bronco’s have done has something remarkable already this year insofar as they have rallied and a new nationwide fan-base for the Broncos through their divinely inspired play.
Yet, in spite of the wins and Tebow’s obvious success, heart and dedication for football, critics of Tebow continue lash out with a flurry of criticism. They say that “he can’t throw the ball”, that “he cries too much”, they “don’t like the #Tebowing” (getting down on one knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different). The truth is though that many people just don’t like that Tim Tebow is a devout Christian. Such criticism often comes in the way of backhanded compliments like that of former Bronco quarterback Jake Plummer who recently said on Phoenix radio station “I think he’s a winner and I respect that about him. I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ, then I think I’ll like him a little better. I don’t hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff.”
ESPN analyst Skip Bayless, questioning such criticism of Tebow, later said on ESPN “…I sense growing resentment of Tim Tebow. Something deeper is going on here…”
ESPN analyst Steven A Smith responded to Bayless with what he thinks is happening. He said:
“…The fact that he (Tim Tebow) was been elevated as human being the way he has is going to open the gateway, the floodgates for a shrapnel of criticism to come in his direction because – understand what Tim Tebow means to a lot of Americans… Ok, you have those folks, we call it the religious right or whatever the case may be… you’ve got that element – there’s no denying that, Ok. And people who hate on him for that should be ashamed of themselves… (Jake) Plummers comment the other day was completely uncalled for and over the line. Tim Tebow did nothing to deserve that. But, there is the other side… we’re all running about this world doing our thing. When it seems as if you have a plethora of Americans that are trying to elevate him as a human being, ultimately what they are saying to you is ‘this is the standard that we want to be able to apply to everybody else.’ And particularly as it pertains to sports fanatics and aficionados, people of that ilk, when they look at the common athlete and they say that there is no way that they can live up to that. You know – you are wearing your religion on your sleeve, you are getting down on one knee, you’re praising God at every turn – which I applaud by the way – you are doing all of these things, your celibate, your not going to engage… ahhhh – people ain’t tryin’ to hear that. People don’t want to be subjected to those kinds of standards, because in their heart of hearts they don’t want to be forced to have to live up to it. So when you have somebody like a Tim Tebow, who is sitting in that position, that he is sayin’ ‘I don’t mind taking on that mantle’ it almost builds resentment – because most folks are saying, ‘I can’t live up to that. I’ll be damned if…’ it makes them uncomfortable. That has a lot to do with it. So it’s not hatred for him, it’s not hatred about him – it’s about, waita minute, we don’t want that standard.”
So essentially what Smith is saying is that people don’t want to have to live up to the high standard that they see Tim Tebow emulating as he actively follows Jesus Christ. They don’t want people to publicly display their religion. They don’t want athlete’s to have to live up to a high standard of moral and ethical behavior.
I think Smith is spot on here but I would question why is what he says the case? Why wouldn’t we want our professional athletes to be role models for our children? What’s wrong with athlete’s talking publically about their faith? It doesn’t seem to me that anyone bashes Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or Hakeem Olajuwon for professing their faith in Islam. Maybe, in light of recent-years bad sports fan behavior, some of which originates in my own Cleveland Dawg Pound or even in the Ohio State/Michigan rivalry (See my post on that: Here), maybe higher standards for fans should be encouraged by society.
The truth is that Tim Tebow isn’t on trial here – Jesus Christ is.
The crazy and awesome thing about Tim Tebow is that he follows Jesus well enough that he hasn’t yet been baited into fighting his critics at all. He knows better than that – because Christ calls Christians to something better than that, he calls them to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-42). Actually, when Jake Plummer made the aforementioned comment and Tebow was asked about it you know what he said? He humbly said this:
“Well first I’d say ‘thank you’ for the compliment of calling me a winner. And then I’d also say, you know, if you are married and you have a wife and you really love your wife – is it good enough to say to your wife ‘I Love you’ only the day that you get married? Or should you tell he every single day when you wake up at every opportunity. And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ. That is the most important thing in my life. So any time I get the opportunity to tell him that I love him or give him the opportunity to shout him out on National T.V., I’m going to take that opportunity. So I look at it as a relationship that I have with him that I want to give him the honor and the glory every-time I have the opportunity. And then, right after I give him the honor and glory, I try to give my teammate the honor and glory – and that’s how it works because Christ comes first in my life, and then my family, and then my teammates. And so – you know, I respect Jake’s opinion and I really appreciate his compliment of calling me a winner, but I feel like any time I get the opportunity to give the Lord some praise, He is due for it because of what he did for me and what He did on the cross for all of us. And so I really appreciate his (Plummer’s) opinion, and I respect him, but I still will give all of the honor and glory to the Lord because he deserves it.”
Enough said – I’m a Browns fan but I’m buying a Tebow Jersey.
To Tim’s critics, my advice is that you might consider learning a thing or two from brother Tebow – for instance:
Football may last for a season in one’s lifetime – but Jesus, well…
Jesus Christ is forever.
So keep up the good work Tim, and keep on #Tebowing.