Friday, November 18, 2011

Can He Keep It Up?

Friday Reflection - 11/18

I really try to stay away from sports in my posts, but in my reflection today, I make an exception.

I am a big fan of football. Those who know me, know this. Last evening, I watched the last 20 minutes of a game that I had hoped to watch. That's about all the game that mattered. In the final 5 minutes, the inexplicable Tim Tebow conjured a 95-yard drive to win, again, in his ubiquitous, unlikely way.

In his post-game interview - which amounted to a bunch of nonsense, who-cares, obvious questions - Tebow prefaced his first answer by, "I first want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..." Okay.

He was later asked, "What is it that some people hate about you; is it your faith?" In my opinion, it was the best question in the interview.

A lot of people are on the Tebow train. He's got people believing. He says good, Christian-like things. He's upbeat. He's sincere. His fans believe. More importantly for the game, his team believes.

But I have a prediction. The Tebow train will wreck, in one of two ways:

1) Losing. Faith in the guy whose abilities are not elite, but who has extraordinary spirit, will dwindle, IF/WHEN he stops winning. Four games out of five is great. But among elite athletes and coaches, a one-dimensional quarterback will get figured out - eventually. Charisma + losses = early retirement.

2) Faith. Deion Sanders foreshadowed Tebow's future with the question, "Why is it that some people just hate you; is it your faith?" Last night, the answer to that question was, "No."

Right now, people love him for his faith. It propels him to win in unlikely circumstances. It rallies his team around him. It gives him opportunity to bring God into the arena. But the arena is a bloody place. Sooner or later, someone is going to ask the follow-up questions:
"Do you really believe in eternal punishment for sinners?" "Do you really believe that same-sex marriage is wrong?" "Do you really believe that people who don't have faith in Jesus will spend eternity in hell?" 
One of two things will happen then. Tebow will offend. He will offend purists by selling out. Or, he will offend the world by holding strong.

If he keeps winning, scenario #2 will likely play out sometime by the end of the year, or next season. If he starts losing, he'll fade out quicker than he came in.

Isn't there a third scenario? You mean the one where Tebow holds strong to his Christian values, and keeps winning football games, and keeps the people on his side?

To ask is to answer. Not even Jesus - with the help of real miracles - could pull that off. 

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