Well, I guess I was wrong about Tim Tebow last week. He had what it took, thankfully, to eliminate the villainous Pittsburg Steelers. He did it in spectacular fashion as well, with an impressive team effort after a slow start to run, pass, and kick the Steelers into overtime, and then sending them to the offseason with a single snap and a single pass to Demaryius Thomas. If you missed it, it had to be one of the all-time best NFL games I’ve seen.
The debate continues though. I think you’d be hard pressed after that game to say Tim Tebow isn’t qualified to be an NFL quarterback. He might be unorthodox, and he might not last long because he’ll get beat up trying to play both QB and fullback, but he’s got skills. Is that all he has though? Last week I was certain God didn’t care about football. I also admitted a couple of days ago that my own skepticism is usually the first obstacle that needs overcoming on the way to any conclusion. Most people on all sides of any debate have personal agendas that I want stripped away. In the case of Tim Tebow, from the very beginning you had a genuinely nice young man, who was an excellent role model for kids, thankful for his gifts, and unashamed of his faith. Christians latched onto him and began ascribing him some sort of sainthood that he could never live up to, while atheists (and football fans who had already gone to church that morning and didn’t want anymore) jeered him for forcing his religion on them. Both sides are absurd.
Tim Tebow was just being who Tim Tebow is. If you don’t like it, turn the channel, or complain to Roger Goodell. Good luck removing all controversial personalities from the NFL though. If you’re holding him up on some sort of pigskin idol who has come to save mankind, you need to stop (Rom 1:23-25). God is plenty capable of taking care of that himself, and I’m guessing Tebow doesn’t need or want you putting him there. He knows the path he’s on, and he knows that he’s merely a tool in God’s toolbox.
The question isn’t whether or not Tim is a tool of God, because if you subscribe to the traditional Jesus Christ, anybody who follows Him is a member of the same body (1 Cor 12:12-26). The question is whether God miraculously helps Tim Tebow win football games or not. It’s extremely difficult not to notice Tim’s passing stats last week, during the most attention getting game of his career thus far. He threw for 316 yards and averaged 31.6 yards per pass. Recognize those numbers? You’ve seen them under Tim Tebow’s eyes before, and on the sign of some enthusiastic fan at just about every football game ever broadcast. John chapter 3 verse 16 is the most recognizable passage in the New Testament that succinctly sums up the offer: follow the lead of this guy called Jesus in exchange for eternal goodness.
Are these passing stats a miracle? Doubtful. Miracles are reserved for the supernatural, and this was definitely a natural occurence. Is it just plain old dumb luck? Maybe. As a fan of Tim Tebow’s faith, and a guy that doesn’t lightly use the term “miracle”, let me offer a third alternative though. The Bible talks about works of God as not only “miracles”, but also “signs” and “wonders” (Heb 2:4). What’s the difference? That gets a little bit tricky, and they seem to be used interchangeably, but I’ve always thought of it this way. Miracles tend violate the laws of nature and physics (at least as far as we know them). Given modern society’s aversion to the supernatural, if you or somebody you trust fully don’t experience a miracle, you probably won’t believe it. Tim Tebow’s single play overtime victory and resulting yardage are definitely no miracle.
Signs and wonders are a little different though. They’re something amazing, but not necessarily operating outside the bounds of natural phenomenon. The “wonder” being the center of attention that people marvel over, the “sign” being an indication of, or leading to, something amazing. The “sign” indicates the potential involvement of God in an event. As one who’s worldview allows for signs, miracles, and wonders, I will skeptically suggest, that I will not fully reject that it is possible (is that non-commital enough?) that Tim Tebow’s 316 yards for a 31.6 yard average, which resulted in the term “John 3:16” shooting to the top of Google’s top queries, could potentially, maybe, possibly, be…a sign. Maybe God is a football fan afterall, or maybe He just sees a big flock with potential. I don’t think it means God helps Tim Tebow win football games other than with the skill he was created with, it just means I think that the Broncos could have won with 326 yards passing and a 15.3 yard average just the same, but nobody would have thought anything of that.
On to the Patriots! GB2!
Tune in next week to find out why I think if God is going to continue being a football fan, he should switch to the Seattle Seahawks…just kidding…mostly…