Attention: If you haven't read the first article in the series yet, please read it, it lays the biblical foundation for this article. You can find it here: [Click Me!]
Tim Tebow is probably one of the most well known famous Christians, so I’ll try to keep this article short. (Haha I’m funny, this is Nerd in the Word, I can't do short!) So for those who don’t know who Tim Tebow is, Tim Tebow is a former NFL quarterback and current Major League Baseball outfielder for the New York Mets.
Tim Tebow was born into a devout Christian home and, at the time of his birth, his parents were active Baptist missionaries to the Philippines. But if we are to cover all the facets of Tebow’s life, we’ll have to go even further back than his birthday. You see, Tim Tebow’s life came with a rocky start. While Tebow was still unborn in the womb, his parents were presented with a period of trial in their faith.
While Tim was still in the womb, his mother experienced complications with her pregnancy due to a placental abruption. The local doctors informed Tim’s mother that it was almost guaranteed that Tim would end up being stillborn, and they encouraged her to seek an abortion for the child for the sake of her own health. However, because they stood on Christian principles and the sanctity of human life, they rejected this outright. Through many prayers, faith, and guiding hand of God, Tim Tebow was born a healthy baby boy without any major complications.
Three years after Tim Tebow was born, his parents left the missions field and returned to the United States. Because his parent’s considered a biblical foundation to be crucial in raising a child, they opted to homeschool Tim. This would later encourage Tim Tebow to be an avid spokesperson for the homeschooling movement, and he would even go as far as to write a book promoting it. (https://abcnews.go.com/family/story/tim-tebow-reflects-breaking-ground-homeschool-student-pretty-50742055)
Despite being homeschooled, Tim was allowed to play football for local Christian schools. As he played for these teams, people began to notice his skills in the sport. By the time he reached his junior and senior year, he received national recognition by earning the title of “Florida’s player of the year” two years in a row. After graduating from homeschool, Tim would get his first experience of the public school system when he accepted a football scholarship to play for the University of Florida. From there, his fame would continue to grow into what it is today.
Today, Tebow helps fund more than 40 evangelists, promotes abstinence until marriage, speaks and writes about the importance of Christ, prayer, and Scripture, and recently announced he is helping to make a new Christian movie called, “Run the Race.” However, Tebow’s most well-known Christian endeavor is putting Scripture references on his eye black during his football games. Tims purpose for doing this was to represent his relationship with Christ on the field. An unexpected side effect of this choice was that people would search for the verses he wrote on the internet when they saw it and read them during his games. On one day alone, Tim Tebow’s eye black with John 3:16 written on it made 94 million people google the verse.
Tim Tebow is very vocal about his beliefs, here's just a few of the quotes he has said through the years:
“The more you make the choice to live above your feelings, to trust God instead of what you may feel like doing, the stronger your faith becomes. It’s not about being perfect. We will always be on a journey of growing closer to God.”
“I don't know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.”
“Regardless of how your life will impact others and what that will look like, I just know that when your identity is grounded in God, when you trust in Him, you become part of a bigger picture. And you begin to live out this wonderful poem He has written for your life. This is the truth when life is smooth sailing, and this is the truth when storms come.”
If you want an even better feel for his beliefs, here’ a cool video of Tebow talking about Christ:
So How Should We Respond to Christians like Tim Tebow?
Tim Tebow has been almost universally accepted as a representative of Christians because of his rock-solid testimony and outward showing of his Christian beliefs. He is often covered by Christian news sites and encouraged in his pursuit of representing Christ to the world. To many, he represents the “Ideal Christian.” And since his life itself is a miraculous story (due to his mother’s pregnancy complications) he even became a prime candidate to us as an example of the success a pro-life position can bring.
As a whole, we’ve done a great job at supporting Tim Tebow. People encourage him, tell him he is a blessing, and allow him to share his personal Christian experiences at many Christian outlets. It’s easy for us to love someone who is just like us.
“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” - Matt 5:46-47
So when we meet Christians that are living right and are blameless, we’re going to connect with them. It’s easy! We find it simple to encourage them and give them a hearty, “Amen!” as they serve the Lord. Christians like Tim Tebow are like a cup of refreshing cold water to other believers because they can get us excited when they give the world evidence that a Christ-focused life can be successful without compromise. However, (and I think Tim Tebow would agree with this statement,) we need to be careful that these people don’t become idols in our lives. Humans are, as you would expect, only human. They still can mess up, and if we set them up on the proverbial pedestal, we can end up disappointed, and our faith has the potential to be shaken by them if they fail.
Pastors, youth leaders, parents, famous Christians, and many others have the potential to be looked at with an awe-filled adoration. If our God says He is not someone who is a “respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), which means that He does not have a bias toward people based on who they are, then we too should be careful to emulate that in ourselves. Yes, we should have respect for those godly individuals in our lives and recognize their faithfulness, but we should not see them as something greater than what they are, people just like you and I. As Paul says,
“So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. .. For we are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” - 1 Cor 3:7,8
We need to be careful, that, as Christians, we don’t compare ourselves to each other, In 2 Corinthians 10:12, Paul says that those “measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” we usually apply this verse to mean we shouldn’t think we are better than others, but in reality it works both ways. We shouldn’t compare ourselves so that we can think we are better, but we also shouldn’t compare ourselves by thinking that others are so much better than us. We may think they have everything together, but, in reality, we only see what people want us to see, and most people don’t openly express their inner struggles with temptation or doubt. So let’s be wise and treat people as people!
Our first responsibility to faithful Christians is to encourage them and comfort them. As I already referenced, we often think that because these people are so faithful, that they don’t have struggles. This can leave some of the most faithful Christians in a position of loneliness. One of the things I often heard from guest pastors in Bible college was how lonely the pastorate was for them. Yes, they received lots of “great message, pastor” and amens, but they severely lacked people who could encourage them about the burdens of their life. Don’t just go to the faithful Christian for help or answers to spiritual questions, also go to them to see how you can help them! Find out how you can pray for them, find out what needs they have, and find out what they are burdened about. In doing so, you will help to lift up the heaviness they have been carrying while trying to be strong for other people.
Secondly, we need to pray for these faithful Christians. We should pray that they will continue to fight the good fight, that they will remain faithful and be given more opportunity to represent Christ. We should ask them to provide us with specific needs they want us to pray for, and after we pray over them for a while, we should also remind them that we are still praying for them, and check in to see if God has answered our prayers.
We have done well in our attitudes toward faithful Christians like Tim Tebow, but we can still do better. So let’s make it our promise to God to take the effort to ensure we encourage and lift up even the strongest among us so that they do not slip under the weight of the expectations they carry. Today we’ve considered our response to the faithful Christian, but in our next article, we will be looking at our attitudes toward the growing Christian as we look at the life story of Justin Bieber. His fame, his early sinful lifestyle, his conversion, and his journey to be conformed to the image of Christ as a newer believer. I hope you’ll join in next time for an exciting story that you’ve probably never heard before. Until next time, grace and peace out!
Featured photo provided by by Ed Clemente Photography