Out with the new, and in with the old?
Yesterday, former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who turns 36 on Saturday, signed a five-year, $96 million deal with the Denver Broncos. Released from the Colts after sitting out a season because of a neck injury, Manning will receive $18 million this year. Where does that leave 24-year-old Tim Tebow, who took the Broncos into the second round of the playoffs in his first year as the starting quarterback?
Rumors had Tebow returning to the Broncos' bench or traded to Jacksonville, Miami, or New England. Wherever he ends up, his faith will follow. Although not the only Christian in the NFL, Tebow currently is the most popular. What is it about him that generates so much press? Is it the dramatic, end-of-game wins he manages to pull off? But Tebow completed just 46.5 percent of his passes in 2011, worst among starting QBs. Is it his public religious expression and "Tebowing," which has drawn praise and mockery? Or is it a combination of both?
Doctors thought Timothy Richard Tebow, the youngest of five homeshooled children, would be stillborn. While doing missions work in the Philippines, his pregnant mother contracted a bacterial infection. The medication she took caused placental disruption. Doctors recommended abortion, but his mother refused. In his memoir, Through My Eyes, Tebow said his mother's pregnancy caused her "a great deal of pain and bleeding." The whole family prayed for him.
The attending physician called the baby a miracle: "I can't explain how it happened, but despite all odds, he beat them. Only a small part of the placenta was attached, but it was just enough to keep your baby nourished all these months."
Before he was drafted, Tebow appeared in two Focus on the Family commercials that ran during the 2010 Super Bowl. The ads featured him and his mother, and the message clearly was pro-life and anti-abortion, although the words were never uttered.
While the Great Commission doesn't require that we attain celebrity status to be effective, God raised Tebow to an international stage, and he seems to be using his platform well. While his on-field numbers leave much to be desired, his off-field mission to help and to heal both physical and spiritual sickness inspires. The Tim Tebow Foundation, a vehicle for evangelism, benefits underprivileged children and orphans. Tebow continues his parents' missions work. He speaks publicly and visits hospitals and prisons, including death row. Earlier this month, Tebow drew 20,000 people at four services at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas.
Whether he ends up on the bench in Foxborough or on a field in Florida, Tebow is focused on what matters. "You get bashed against the rocks sometimes," he said at one of the services. "But when you have a relationship with Christ ... one of my favorite quotes is, 'I don't know what my future holds, but I know who holds it.' I know what my rock is. I know who's holding my future."
Editor's note: Shortly after this was posted, Tim Tebow was traded to the New York Jets.