Archive for April 11th, 2012

For months the name Tim Tebow has dominated sports news in North America. There is also growing attention for Jeremy Lin. They are both amazing athletes, they are both young men (Jeremy is twenty-three, and Tebow is twenty-four), they are both sought after to market many products, they are both nice young men (going only by what the press has said … so far … about them), and they are both loudly professing Christians.

Not long ago, I awoke to the sports newscast on the radio. There was great excitement over an amazing, game winning basket, scored by Mr. Lin with less than a second of game time. One of the radio personalities, after the sportscast, said something negative about how Lin, like Tebow, talks about God all the time.

The comments of the radio personality jarred me into an irritated state to start my day. Just why is it that when individuals are successful, when individuals are doing good things, when individuals are living in a manner that is good for society (ie. Tebow (Tim Tebow Foundation) and Jeremy Lin (Jeremy Lin Foundation) both have foundations to support underprivileged and and ill children), when individuals are doing it all in the name of God, our society would rather cut them down, and have them shut up? In a day and age of acceptance of all and toleration, can the name of God not be tolerated?

To be fair, to be a Christian means living in the shadow of those who have blown it (remember Jim Baker? Jerry Falwell? Pat Robertson? Jimmy Swaggart? The ‘Christian Brothers’ of the Mount Cashel orphanage? and so on). Sometimes it is almost fearful to state, publicly, that you are a Christian. As soon as people know this about you, you are pigeon holed with those who have blown it before. In a sense you are convicted before you even sin, because it is expected of you.

God expects it of us too. That is why his love is not a conditional one, that is why his love is littered with grace. That is why those of us who profess a belief and reliance on God, want to share it with others. We know that all that we have, and are, is due to the God who provides. That is why Tebow and Lin (and others in the spotlight, and out of it) want to share it … it is just that good. This belief in God does not make the believer better than others, it makes his or her life better than without it.

I fear for individuals like Lin and Tebow, because they have been placed on impossibly high pedestals, elevating them above all other mere mortals (much like OJ, Magic Johnson, Joe Paterno, Tonya Harding, Roger Clemens). I fear for them, because they are mere mortals, and all of us fail, and mess up, and make mistakes, and do things that are contrary to our beliefs (even atheists have been heard calling out to God before fading into the foreverland of death … you cannot get much more contrary to beliefs than that).

Jeremy Lin said, “there is so much temptation to hold on to my career even more now. To try to micromanage and dictate every little aspect. But that’s not how I want to do things anymore. I’m thinking about how can I trust God more. How can I surrender more? How can I bring him more glory? It’s a fight. But it’s one I’m going to keep fighting.” May Lin win this fight!

When being interviewed by NFL Today, Tebow said, “Mom and Dad preached to me when I was a little kid that just because you may have athletic ability and may be able to play a sport doesn’t make you any more special than anybody else, doesn’t mean God loves you more than anybody else … at the end of the day, it’s a [football] game.” And may Tebow keep this perspective.

As a fellow Christian, I pray that these two young men continue in their life walk with God, and I pray that they continue to give God the thanks, whether the Lord gives or the Lord takes away … praise the name of the Lord (Job 1:21).

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