The Gospel on Offense - The Faith of Tim Tebow
by Mark Earley
America's largest church has a capacity to hold 16,000. But while Tim
Tebow may not be a preacher, when he runs into the University of
Florida's football Stadium - affectionately known as "The Swamp" - his
congregation numbers just over 90,000. And you can bet they're hearing
It's not just that this University of Florida quarterback
wears Bible verses etched into his “eye-black” on game days. Tim Tebow has
been making headlines for more than simply his Heisman Trophy win as a
sophomore and his two national championships. This summer the New York
Times, GQ, and Sports Illustrated, all covered the quarterback's strong
Last year, when the Florida Gators won the national championship, the
pre-game show followed Tim into a local Florida prison where he can
regularly be found sharing his testimony and preaching the Gospel.
And this top-notch athlete, who spends his spring breaks and summers
ministering to orphans in the Philippines has actually helped change
the culture of the University of Florida . According to
Sports Illustrated, "Since Tebow's arrival on campus, and in large part
because of him, the University has launched a series of
community-service initiatives." Even coach Urban Meyer has taken his
family on a "Tebow-inspired mission trip to the Dominican Republic ."
The press seems to be fascinated with outspoken Christian quarterbacks
like Tim Tebow; Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman winner; and now USC's
Matt Barkley. Only a few decades ago, it would have been taken for
granted that these would be the kinds of fellows any father would want
his daughter to marry. Now they are put under the microscope as some
kind of curious anomaly-well-known athletes who actually exhibit character.
In our doped-up, mug-shot celebrity culture, sadly these young men do
look a little out of step. And that's to our culture's shame. Perhaps
that is why last year when the press asked Tim Tebow a rather
impertinent question - they were more embarrassed by the response than
he was. It was at a Southeastern Conference news media event where one
reporter asked in front of the crowded room, "Are you a virgin?"
Tim answered with an unequivocal yes and had yet another platform to
explain how his faith impacts every area of his life.
That platform for sharing the Gospel is exactly what Tim's parents
prayed for before he was born. Tim's father, Bob, a missionary in the
Philippines, had been weeping over the millions of babies aborted in
It was then that he prayed, "God, if you give me a son, if you
give me Timmy, I'll raise him to be a preacher."
Soon after, when Pam Tebow learned she was expecting, the parents'
faith was put to the test. After a series of grave complications,
doctors encouraged them to abort the child. They refused. Born small
and weak, Timmy struggled from the beginning. But his dad continued to
tell him, "God's got a purpose for you, and at some point, He's going
to call you to preach."
Dad was right. God's message would come through the roar of the crowd,
beamed to millions via satellite. But little did they know, Tim would
don a jersey, not robes, and use a stadium for his pulpit.
Tim's a great example of an opportunity every believer has - to put our
faith to work on the field of play where God has gifted us and called us.
"Right is right, even if everyone
is against it, and wrong is wrong,
even if everyone is for it." William Penn
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.
Isaiah 7:9 NIV