This past Sunday Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos beat my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.
And believe it or not, it actually didn’t bother me that much. Of course, I wanted the Steelers to win, and I wanted to see the Steelers defense put Tim Tebow through the mulcher, but it didn’t happen. I’m okay with how things turned out. If it had been Tom Brady and the devil-spawn Patriots, I wouldn’t have been okay with it. But I like Tim Tebow, and I don’t despise the Broncos.
What does bother me is the way that many Christians are getting all weird and freaky about Tim Tebow. For example, on Sunday Tebow threw for 316 yards. Tebow’s favorite scripture verse is John 3:16. The NFL would not let Tebow write “John 3:16” on his face. Thus, God let Tebow pass for 316 yards as a way of sticking it to the NFL and highlighting John 3:16. Get the message NFL: you can’t shut down God, and you can’t shut down Tim Tebow when God is on his side. Right?
I don’t know about that. I think we need to be careful when making definitive statements about what God is doing. God doesn’t usually work the way we expect him to. He tends to work through losers and the downcast and the poor and the down and out. He likes to use the weak to demonstrate his strength, and the foolish to demonstrate his wisdom. Of course, that doesn’t mean that God isn’t using Tim Tebow. We just need to be careful when we call something like passing yards a divine sign.
Plus, saying that passing for 316 yards is a sign from God makes Christians look weird for the wrong reasons.
As Christians, we are supposed to be weird. The gospel of Jesus is weird. It is foolishness and insanity in the eyes of the world. A person who loves his enemies is weird. A young man who says “no” to lust and “yes” to purity is weird. A woman who pursues modesty is a freak. A businessman who spends time with the poor is strange. If we truly follow Christ, there will be a definite “weirdness” about us. The world will be turned off by us.
When we start saying that God is sticking it the NFL, it makes us look weird in the eyes of the world, and it makes us look weird for the wrong reasons. It puts us in the camp of Pat Robertson, who tends to say the worst things at the worst time, like when he said the earthquake in Haiti was God’s divine judgment.
We live in a cynical, skeptical, anti-Jesus world. I want people to think I’m weird because I follow Jesus, not because I bow on one knee and pray in the middle of my school hallway or see God’s handiwork in a football game. The gospel is enough of a stumbling block to people. I don’t want to put another one in people’s way.
So let’s pray for Tim Tebow, that God continues to help him speak boldly for the gospel. Let’s pray that God protects him from the temptations of riches and power. And let’s stop being weird about Tim Tebow.