Tim Tebow is making headlines yet again. He was signing autographs on Tuesday after playing in a minor league baseball game when he saw a fan having what appeared to be a seizure. Tebow talked and prayed with him until paramedics arrived, then promised to check on him later. “God bless you, buddy,” he said. As Tebow headed for the team bus, fans saluted him. “That was class,” one said.
ESPN has more on the story this morning, quoting Tebow’s explanation for his actions: “People are what’s important. And an opportunity to help someone is more important than anything that I could have possibly done on a baseball diamond that day.”
Why is America so fascinated with Tim Tebow?
Part of the answer is his prodigious athletic talent. He was the first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. He led the University of Florida to two national titles in three years. As quarterback of the Denver Broncos, he led his team to its first AFC West title and playoff game since 2005.
After limited playing time with three other NFL teams, he announced this year that he would pursue baseball. On the first pitch of his first game as a professional baseball player, he hit a home run. The video went viral immediately.
Part of the answer is his public faith. During college games, he often wore biblical references on his “eye black,” the paint many players wear to help shield their eyes from the sun. When he wore “John 3:16” for one game, the verse became the highest-ranked Google search term over the next twenty-four hours, generating 90 million searches. His custom of kneeling in prayer on the sideline became a national phenomenon. His commitment to remaining a virgin until marriage generated national headlines.
Tebow is obviously a talented athlete and committed Christian. But there’s something America doesn’t realize, a fact that explains his remarkable influence in our culture.
Speaking to an Easter Sunday crowd of twenty thousand in 2012, Tebow mentioned being traded from Denver to New York and said, “Regardless of what happens, I still honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because at the end of the day, that’s what’s important, win or lose.” His passion is to be used fully by God. That’s why he is used so fully by God.
Billy Graham was sometimes criticized for the simplicity of his sermons, but he led more people to Christ than anyone in history. His secret was that he was fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
Dwight Moody had a fifth-grade education and was often criticized for abusing the English language. His response: “There are many better preachers than I am; all that I can say about it is that the Lord uses me.” Why did God use him? Moody heard British evangelist Henry Varley say, “It remains to be seen what God will do with a man who gives himself up wholly to him.” Mr. Moody said to himself, “Well, I will be that man.” And he was.
God will use us to the extent that we are usable. We can measure the degree to which we are surrendered to the Spirit by the degree to which we are used by the Spirit.
Anne Graham Lotz commented on the boy who gave his lunch to Jesus: “His faith had found the key to the storehouse of God’s ample supply. When he offered Jesus a few loaves and fish, he was offering Jesus everything he had!”
Will you do the same today?