Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Does Jesus Wear a Tim Tebow Jersey?

Once again my day is busy so today will be another short post.  I would be remiss if I completely ignored the curious phenomenon of Tim Tebow.  Just about everyone has heard of Tim Tebow and even knows what Tebowing is.  It really is a curious thing.  He is certainly not the first Christian to ever play quarterback in the NFL.  He is not even the first one who speaks about his faith openly.  He is not the first to pray before games, but he is the first to have his prayer stance named after him.  So what is going on here, why Tim Tebow and why now?  He is a mediocre quarterback with a lot of heart and won more games then he lost.  He had a great performance in one playoff game and failed miserably in the next (though it was not just him, it was his entire team).  So did God give Tim Tebow the victory in those other games?  That I do not know, but I do know it is not about Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos, or football games won and lost, it is about the Gospel.   In the end, it is about Jesus.  So what can we learn about Jesus from Tim Tebow and football in general?  Believe it or not there are a few things.
Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with [you]. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain [it]. And everyone who competes [for the prize] is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a perishable crown, but we [for] an imperishable [crown]. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as [one who] beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring [it] into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.  1 Corinthians 9:23-27 NKJV
Football players have one goal in mind, and that goal is to win the Super Bowl.  They choose teams on whether they will get that chance.  Teams choose players based on who will help take them there.  Most never have the chance to even play in a Super Bowl let alone win one.  Everyone competes for the prize, but very few actually win it.  It is not good enough to have a winning season, it is not good enough to get into the playoffs as a Wild Card, it is not good enough to win your Division, it is not good enough to make it to the NFC or AFC championship game, and it is not even enough to win that game and make it to the Super Bowl.  The goal is to win the Super Bowl and it is the goal of all football players.  Nothing else will ever be good enough. 

We need to take the same attitude with the Gospel.  Our goal should not be to be an alright servant of God, or a barely passable servant of God, or even a good servant of God, our goal should be to be the best servant of God.  This does not necessarily mean that we have the largest church, play the best music, have the most blog followers, be loved the most by men, or to have the most earthly stuff.  God desires our obedience in what He gives us (see the Parable of the Talents) and we will be judged accordingly.  Now I am not talking about the judgement to see if we made it to Heaven, but the judgement where we get to see what rewards we have earned by the fruit produced through our lives.  Run to receive that crown. Run to receieve the prize that awaits you in eternity. 

It takes a lot of discipline to be a championship football players.  Coaches do not like lazy players and lazy players do not win championships.  It also takes sacrifice.  You have to be committed to practice, to learning, to growing as a player, and to playing with every bit of energy you have each and every time you are in the game.  You have to want it and you have to earn it.  There are no shortcuts to being a champion player in any sport.  For an Olympic athlete, training becomes the reality of every day life.  You do not get involved with worldly things when you are training for a championship.  Your entire life becomes whatever sport you are competing in.  Anything else will not win you a championship.

Once again, we need to have the same attitude in our Christian life.  Your entire life needs to become about the Gospel.  You need to be disciplined, not entangling yourself in worldly and sinful activities that not only take from your growth in Christ but disqualify you as His ministry.  If you are living in sin, you can not minister the Gospel.  If you are living in sin, you will not qualified to serve.  I am not speaking of the stumblings we all have, though they do hurt our witness and should not be taken lightly.  I am talking about those who live in open and constant sin yet still think they can call themselves a Christian.  We must be disciplined.  We must beat our bodies into subjection lest our flesh get a hold of us and drag us down.  We must study our Bible, pay attention in a church that teaches good doctrine, listen for God in where He wants us to serve, and we must do so as unto the one we claim to be our Lord and Savior of our souls.  We are not playing for some silly statue or ring.  We are not playing for a gold metal that will one day burn with the rest of the world.  We are playing for the unsaved eternal souls of the world.  The stakes we play for are beyond anything we can imagine as God has sent us to be the lifeline between Heaven and Hell for those who are still waiting to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

As for Tim Tebow, I hope that his motivation is more to glorify God than it is to glorify himself.  Only time will tell whether that he his focus or not.  I am sure that God did allow him the success that he had because the end result was the Gospel has gone forth.  Whether he won the Super Bowl or was eliminated in the second round, it does not matter because the Gospel has gone forth.  My one concern is that his prayer has become sort of a show and that we are told to pray in secret and we will be rewarded openly.  People may wonder why his team lost if God is on his side.  I do not believe God has a favorite team and there are Christians on every team.  To say that God is not on his side because he lost is a statement that fails to take into account what that even means.  If one soul was saved by the phenomenon that was Tim Tebow, then he has won a crown more glorious than any Super Bowl ring he can ever wear. 
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.  Acts 20:24 NKJV

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