I wrote a 700-word draft along these lines a while ago and never posted it. I realized I was writing from a self-righteous vantage point so I decided to keep my sanctimonious words to myself. Actually, I didn’t realize that on my own; more accurately, I was called out by my gracious Father. He’s teaching me to weigh my words more carefully these days. So two weeks later, here’s what I really wanted to say, without the pretense and the superiority:
I’m glad football season is almost over because I was starting to lose my mind for two reasons. The first being Tim Tebow and the insanity that surrounds him, the second being football and the insanity that surrounds it.
I have nothing against Tebow himself; I’m sure he is a stellar person. My complaint is with the Christian’s response to him. It bothers me that fellow followers of Christ place this man on a pedestal simply because of the way he lives his life. Tebow isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary – he’s living the life we’re all called to live. So if we’re amazed at a man who can’t help but speak about his faith and live a life that so beautifully honors Christ, then maybe we’ve made the wrong thing the norm. Because you’re probably thinking, “But most other Christians in his position wouldn’t be so vocal about their faith, etc”. Maybe those Christians shouldn’t be what we accept as the norm. Maybe compartmentalizing our faith and our jobs so we don’t offend others shouldn’t be the expected.
Tebow wouldn’t stand out from the crowd if more of us were striving to live the lives we’re called to. He’s not a superhero, he’s just a man who loves Jesus not just on Sundays or in Facebook statuses but when he shows up at work too, and most especially, when no one is looking. Isn’t that all that matters? Shouldn’t that be us as well? And maybe the world wouldn’t be so astounded by this one man if they got to encounter millions more just like him at work or on the bus or at the grocery store or at the bank. The truth is, we’re more comfortable putting someone else on a pedestal instead of embracing the necessary discomfort it requires to live a life worthy of emulation.
And I wonder, what would be different about our world if we were as passionate about its broken people as we are about football? I’ve learned to not even try to have a conversation with my football-crazy friends while a game is on. All their attention is given to the game. What would happen if we weren’t just passionate in words but in deeds? Because there seems to be more passion expressed about the outcome of a football game than about weightier things people claim to be really passionate about.
Again, I have not a single issue with Tim Tebow or football. I just wonder if our response as Christians should be a little different from the rest of the world. I wonder if I’m not the only one who feels a twinge of sadness to see that the lifestyle which was intended to be the rule has now become the exception. And I wonder if our passions really reflect God’s heart, or if they only reflect our own desires for comfort. I don’t claim to do any of these things perfectly, if at all, but maybe thinking about them differently, with a healthy dose of humility, is a good start.