I suspect this year a new word will be added to the dictionary—“Tebowing.” It describes the action of Tim Tebow bowing on one knee with head bowed in prayer of thanksgiving any time his team, the Denver Broncos, scores a touchdown. This son of missionary parents has defied political correctness through his consistent and unflinching dedication to his Lord.
Tebow has been unflappable in the face of criticism and a constant barrage of questions about his action. When criticized, he has shown grace. When mocked, he has not retaliated or shot back in anger. Frankly, the media and other players just do not know what to do with him.
He has defied all odds. He has always been seen as having lesser abilities than others, yet he led his college team to a National Championship, and then was considered a second- or third-string quarterback after being drafted by the Broncos. He has taken over the starting position and orchestrated unbelievable finishes on more than one occasion. Say what you will about his ability, he has demonstrated remarkable leadership. Tim Tebow is a winner in more ways than one.
Tebow would be the first to tell you he is not perfect. He does not desire to be placed on a pedestal, but he does want to be a role model. Even his critics admit that he “walks the talk.” He is the real deal.
Therein lies the Tebow mystery in our skeptical and unbelieving world. Sadly, there are so few role models who live what they say they believe. Far too many celebrities have openly confessed Christ only to live in a diametrically opposite way. Their words were applaudable, but their lifestyle abominable.
Our culture has gotten used to posers. We have seen preachers who proclaim holiness and purity only to be exposed for immoral living. The same is true of politicians, teachers and business leaders, or anyone else who talks louder than they live.
So when the public sees someone who is the “real McCoy,” they don’t know how to react. In some ways they want to criticize, hoping the person breaks. The skeptical expect failure and hope to urge it along by condemnation.
I am thankful for Tim Tebow. He inspires us, as Christians, to live up to our declared faith. He is a role model. The bar he sets challenges the rest of us who are followers of Christ to live up to our calling.
For years I have been seeking a professional football team to follow. I think I have found it. Go Broncos! Better still, GO TIM TEBOW! May you have many reasons to bend the knee and bow the head. Thanks for showing the world you can live your faith.
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.