I said I had thoughts. It turns out I had more, and they struck at 4am (the “benefit” of a newborn feeding schedule).
I like Timmy Tebow. He seems to be honestly and unapologetically who he is. That he takes time to thank his maker for giving a good arm is nice. Remaining on the straight and narrow in a culture such as the NFL is admirable. But my biggest reason for liking him lies in his unique place as a non-traditional quarterback. I asked Husband why Tebow was garnering such press and he said it was because Tebow didn’t fit the mold. He played a form and function that traditionally doesn’t work for the pros. But here he is, winning games. As a Tweet put it, “He’s the best worst qb in the NFL.” I love an outside-the-box anything.
But last night I saw multiple references to good vs. evil, virgins vs. rapists and all the sorts in the game against Pittsburgh. Most references were from Jesus-loving, Tebow-flag wearing folk. And thus is why we can’t worship Tebow. Because the Gospel is in Ben.
Ben grew up a product of the church, similar to Tebow. His parents love Jesus and have served Him well. But when the world was his oyster, Ben stumbled and fell. His pride and self-absorption led him to hurt people. Ben forgot who he was – and Whose he was – and allowed money and power and self-gratification to be his master.
But isn’t that the story of the People of God?
Aren’t we always turning our backs, trying to sever the roots that hold us firm? Trading our inheritance to live it up, only to find that pigs eat better and deep down we know we must return home and face Dad?
And what happens? Dad runs and greets. He offers a place and forgiveness. But the older brother, the one that stayed and always did right? Resentment. “That son of yours.” Not… “my brother.”
Christians want to put Tebow in the limelight to highlight a life of faith. That’s fine. Encouraging people to pray and honoring someone with strong faith roots is admirable. But I don’t think that’s who Jesus is rooting for. Because how I read the gospel, God seems to have more concern for Ben. We should be loving Ben. We should be encouraging him to return to the fold. Because that’s the hope of Jesus – seeking the lost, not simply staying with the found. Forgiveness for wrongs, not just praising someone who does it right.
Accepting imperfection and making room for those who have messed it all up.
I heard on the radio once that Ben has done some real soul searching since the scandal broke out. He’s since got married and Chris Tomlin played at the wedding (source: K-Love. Take that for what it is). His parents were a part of our church in the last town, and they were spoke of as faithful people. Dear Christian friends, please don’t eliminate one of our own because his sin has been made public while yours has been concealed to the comfort of your home. Let’s read a few more parables about hosting dinner and honoring guests and finding lost items before we declare that Tebow is bringing Jesus back. Because I’m watching ESPN and thinking that if Jesus does his work in Ben, there’s more room for the message of redemption than in watching a guy take a knee.
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