God’s Time

     This past week in an online article entitled “Pastor’s comments do Tebow a disservice” Yahoo! Sports writer Dan Wetzel quotes Tim Tebow’s pastor, Wayne Hanson, as saying, “It’s not luck.  Luck isn’t winning six games in a row.  It’s favor, God’s favor.”  Wetzel opines, “Comments like these aren’t helping Tim Tebow.  And they aren’t helping gain acceptance for the faith Tebow is willing to serve as public representative.”  Wetzel goes on to write that Tebow himself has “never said God is deciding who wins football games.”  He goes further by saying Tebow doesn’t even want all the credit for winning.  Wetzel points out that Tebow said, “I don’t think it’s Tebow Time.  I think it’s Broncos Time.”    
     I have been reluctant to write about Tim Tebow’s blend of faith and football thinking what I have to say on the subject may be misunderstood.  But when pastors like Wayne Hanson make such spiritually shallow comments, I thought it might be time to clarify the issues.    
     Pastor Hanson is correct when he says, “It’s not luck.”  Luck is a term we humans use to explain unexpected outcomes or an unforeseen consequence of our actions.  From a scriptural and divine perspective there is no such thing as happenstance.  So the absence of fortune does not mean the presence of favor.  For Pastor Hanson to say Tebow’s success on the gridiron is because of God’s favor, is suggesting that Tebow’s Christian competitors are in God’s disfavor.  And should Tebow lose a game does this mean he no longer is in God’s favor?    
     I believe that God is intensely interested in every aspect of life, including what happens on a professional football field, because God is interested in shaping our character and events do that for good or ill.  But I agree with Dan Wetzel when he writes, “Very few people…believe God cares about the result of a football game.”  God’s favor cannot be reduced to the final points on a scoreboard, and Pastor Hanson’s comments do not do a disservice to Tim Tebow as much as they do a disservice to God.    
     I am a fan of Tim Tebow the Christian.  He gives every appearance of being a sincere Christian on and off the field.  He is always courteous and respectful.  He is unperturbed in the face of criticism and even seems humbled by it.  I do not know what his salary is (I do not follow such things), but he does not seem to be self-indulgent and has formed a foundation to help those who are in need.  His personal life and character is a role model for younger Christians.     I am not a fan of Tim Tebow the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos.  Professional sports, whatever form it takes, football, baseball, etc., competes for the attention of believers and is a distraction from church on Sundays.  Right now, Tim Tebow is a part of that.    
     The son of missionaries, Eric Liddell, believed in the fourth commandment, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8).”  He was a renowned runner, and as a part of the British Olympic Team, was the odds-on favorite to win the 100 meter dash in the 1924 Olympic Games held in Paris, France.  When he learned that the 100 meter trial heats were going to be held on a Sunday, he refused to compromise his convictions and compete.  Refusing to bow to pressure he was given a chance to compete in the 400 meter race.    
     As he stepped on the track, a masseur for the American Olympic Team handed Liddell a note on which were scrawled the words of God found in 1 Samuel 2:30, “those who honor Me I will honor.”  Liddell clutched that note as he ran the 400 meters and not only did he win the gold medal, he set a new world record.  Rather than pursue fame and fortune as a professional athlete, Liddell joined his family on the mission field in China.    
     Tim Tebow’s boyhood dream was to become a professional quarterback, but I believe God has a much greater plan for his life.  I pray that Tim Tebow maintains his Christian testimony and look forward to the day when he turns his back on professional sports and seeks God’s plan for his life.    
     Despite what his fans say, this Sunday will not be “Tebow time.”  And despite what Tim says, this Sunday will not be “Broncos time.”  This Sunday is “God’s time.”


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