Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tim Tebow's Winsome, Winning Witness

As all America knows, Tim Tebow has been winning on the football field. But much more important, Tim Tebow is winning on the field that counts the most. Here's an example. Sportswriter Dan Wetzel, not one of Tebow's early fans, has been won over by Tebow's character, humility and winsome way of sharing his Christian convictions. Check it out.

Tebow’s commitment to Evangelical Christianity is well known and his displays of that faith are often public. However, he’s never said God is deciding who wins football games, other than when joking about an opponent’s miscue...

This is the beauty and brilliance of Tim Tebow. He puts his faith on display, but never seems to get too direct about it. He shrugs off criticism. He even jokes about it. He is unfailingly polite, accepting of doubters and moderate in his proclamations.

“If you believe, unbelievable things can sometimes be possible,” is about as bold as he gets.

Very few people, even the ultra religious, believe God cares about the result of a football game. There are plenty of believers on the other teams also.

There is no question that Tebow’s faith has played a role in his success. It’s a part of him. It’s what works for him. It’s what drives him. It’s what provides the confidence to overcome all odds – be it in the fourth quarter or in offseason preparation. All the great ones have that and Tebow derives his from his religion.

That’s a powerful message and, it appears, the one that Tim Tebow wants put out there.

This is what works for me, he is saying. This is how I do it. This is what has shaped me as both a successful player on the field and an undoubtedly polite and respectful person off of it.

If you want to give it a shot, then come join me.

And he pretty much leaves it at that. You don’t have to be religious at all to enjoy Tim Tebow the football player, the role model or the well-meaning star.

While he’s aggressive in his missionary work overseas, for the most part his public offerings, especially since joining the NFL, are extremely reasonable. He’s even laughed off opponents “Tebowing” after sacking him. There doesn’t appear to be a confrontational bone in his body – other than his willingness to lower his shoulder in the open field.

Isn’t that how you want people of other religions, or non-believers, to act?...

Religion is said to be the third rail of politics. Many people don’t want it involved in sports at all – they’d prefer to compartmentalize it. Besides, in a country that is hyper-partisan and divided in so many ways, one of the great things about the NFL is its ability to provide common grounds for people of all religions, races, ages, sexes and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Tebow seems to understand that, seems determined to express his personal faith in the most benign and welcoming way possible...