In early December, 2011, the word Tebowing was officially recognized by the Global Language Monitor. At the time, it was defined as the act of taking a knee in prayer during an athletic contest. But since then it has epically grown to taking a knee (with prayer or without prayer) in times and places that may or may not have anything to do with an athletic contest.
Though the craze of Tebowing has swept the world, due to Denver Broncos’ quarterback late game heroics that have always been followed by him praying, there have been many people who have been critical of both the person of Tim Tebow and the act of Tebowing. However, I am not one of those who will be critical of either. I look, instead, to the positives that are coming out of what Tim Tebow is doing.
In the world of the chest thumping, I’m God’s gift to humanity attitude that is so prevalent among today’s athletes, it is refreshing to see Tim Tebow’s attitude of honoring God with his words and actions. You may or may not like him kneeling in prayer before each game and after each score. You may think he is actually trying to draw attention to himself. But what I see, in his very act of kneeling in prayer, or Tebowing, is a three-fold attitude that we all can learn from.
1. The Attitude of Gratitude. Tim Tebow has gone on record many times that he constantly thanks God for every step of the way. In each game he plays, he publically shows his gratfulness to God, botn in the action of praying and in his words during interviews. He never lets an interview go by that he is not first thanking God and then thanking his teammates and coaches. I know many athletes throughout the ages have publically thanked God for their abilities, but who doesn’t really get the impression that with Tim Tebow, it is not just words. He really believes it. I know for me, the example of gratitude he has towards God puts me to shame. I could learn from his example.
2. The Attitude of Humility. Whatever you think about Tebowing, the act of kneeling down in prayer has always been a universal sign of humility. People bow before kings to pay their respects. Even at the end of theater plays, the actors take a bow to show their respect and gratitude for the audience. Throughout the Bible we are told to bow our knee to God and the Bible clearly states that one day every knee shall bow before God. Although I do not believe for a minute that all the people who take pictures of themselves Tebowing are doing so out of humility, I do look at the example that Tim Tebow gives as a message to me that I need to view my life more humbly before God. Prayer out of humility is the one that God most often answers. Though I am not yet willing to go completely there, I sometimes do wonder if the success the Broncos have had might have something to do with the humble prayers of their quarterback. Just a thought. I know most of us do not believe that God plays a part in the outcomes of football games. But do we know that for sure? Do we really want to say of the Almighty that He doesn’ really care about something? That might be a blog for a future time.
3. The Attitude of Ministry. To me, this is the biggest reason why I choose to support and get excited about Tim Tebow. Whatever you might think about the craze of Tebowing and whether or not you think he should be kneeling in public on the football field, you have to admit that as a result of what Tim Tebow does, at least the idea, if not the name, or Jesus is being thought of each time the Broncos take the field. And even though most people who take pictures Tebowing are probably not truly praying, the message of prayer is still being proclaimed. When Tim Tebow, who wore John 3:16 painted under his eyelids during football games, threw for 316 yards in the playoff upset over the Steelers, people started making the comparison of his yards passing to the Bible verse. I don’t know about you, but instead of rolling my eyes at that connection, I praise God that people were talking about the most famous verse in the Bible. Who knows, maybe one person actually decided to look that verse up as a result of Tebow throwing for 316 yards and God is starting the work of salvation in that person’s heart.
Whatever your take on Tim Tebow and the world wide craze of Tebowing, can we at least agree that we can learn from the attitudes that Tebowing should teach us. As for Tim Tebow, win or lose in the next round of the playoffs, I believe he has been an intsrument of God and has served His purpose in bringing the idea of kneeling in prayer to the forefront of our scociety. Now may we learn from that and truly kneel before God in prayer for our country.