My wife, who serves as our church’s wedding hostess, mentioned to me following a recent wedding that the groom and groomsmen were “tebowing” for a picture before the wedding service. Since it was my first time hearing the expression I asked her what she meant. She had walked into the sanctuary when the photographer was taking pictures of the wedding party prior to the wedding ceremony. She saw the groom and the groomsmen kneeling on one knee, elbow on knee, clenched fist touching bowed forehead.
“Tebowing” – dropping on one knee in prayer anytime anyplace – has found its way into our cultural vocabulary. Don’t be surprised if some Sunday morning I have a “slip of the tongue” and say, “Let us tebow.” instead of “Let us pray.” Oops!
As many of you are aware, Tim Tebow is the quarterback for the Denver Broncos. As a collegian he was a Heisman Trophy winner with two national championships to his credit and a first-round NFL draft pick. He took over as the Bronco’s starting quarterback in week 7 when Denver had a 1-4 record. In the successive weeks he earned six game winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. At the end of the regular season, the Broncos earned a wildcard berth in the AFC play-offs.
For those of you who may have missed it, the Broncos won the first round of the play-offs when Tebow threw a game winning 80 yard touchdown pass on the first play in overtime upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tebow took 11 seconds to throw the longest overtime touchdown pass in the shortest overtime in playoff history. Immediately afterwards, Tim Tebow “tebowed” on the football field – knelt in prayer – and when asked his thoughts when the game suddenly ended said, “First of all, thank you Lord.”
When it was all over, Tim Tebow had completed 10 passes for 316 yards. His favorite Scripture passage is John 3:16. He etched this Bible verse in his eye black while winning national championships at the University of Florida. Think about it. 316 completed passing yards. That’s 31.6 yards per completion. And to top it off, CBS’s final quarter TV rating was 31.6.
Coincidence? Maybe, but probably not! I would venture to say that somehow the hand of God was at work.
Bob Glessner used to say, “A coincidence is a small miracle in which God wishes to remain anonymous.” The Bronco’s upset victory over the Steelers was probably considered a miracle in the eyes of many. But in this case, God hasn’t remained anonymous. It appears that God has used Tim Tebow to point others to the gift of salvation in his Son, Jesus. After that game, many people have gone to the Bible to look up John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
God can use us just as he is using Tim Tebow to bring people to Himself. We can learn from Tim Tebow how to genuinely express our Christian faith. We don’t have to hold back. We can give God the credit and glory for the successes in our life. We can pray in public without being embarrassed. We can let our faith flow naturally as an expression of who we are as disciples of Jesus. We don’t need to worry about what others may think. We can be simply sincere. Our faith can be a natural expression of the person we are . . . a genuine extension of our personality.
In our contemporary culture where exemplary role models are” few and far between”, Tim Tebow breaks the mold. He’s a terrific role model of Christian living for all of us, especially our youth. He says he’s a virgin (a 24 year old virgin!) and has never tasted alcohol.
Even though we are not in the media spot light, we too can be an inspiration to others in modeling the Christian life.
Pastor Pentti Maki