I love football. Anyone who has ever
spent more than five minutes with
me can tell you that. And that's
how I came to know of Tim Tebow.
Tebow was the quarterback for the University
of Florida Gators for the past
four years and won the Heisman trophy
when he was only a sophomore.
But, as with most anything sports-related,
mention of Tebow's name brings
widely divergent opinions both about
his football skills and about him as a
person. In spite of the fact that he led
his team to an impressive victory over
my hometown University of Cincinnati
Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl this past
January, I like the guy. Here's why.
What you see is what you get. Tebow
has certainly taken his lumps for professing
his faith so publicly. It makes me
reflect on whether or not I am so willing
to wear my faith on my sleeve—or,
in Tebow's case, on his eye black
patches, which players often wear to
divert the glare of the lights.
For each game, Tebow would write a
Scripture reference on the patches.
More than once, I found myself grabbing
our family's Bible, finding the passage
and then taking a few moments to
reflect on its meaning. Why did he
choose this passage? What does it mean in
my own life?
In fact, during the Sugar Bowl, a
group of us watching the game scrambled
to find the passage Tebow was
wearing—Ephesians 2:8-10: "For by
grace you have been saved through
faith, and this is not from you; it is the
gift of God; it is not from works, so no
one may boast. For we are his handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus for the
good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them."
As a society, we've become immune
to stories of sports stars and celebrities
who have fallen from grace. Yet we fail
to lift up those who haven't taken that
fall. Why is that?
In February, Tebow starred in a pro-life
ad that ran during the Super Bowl
for Focus on the Family. The ad focused
on the 1987 decision of Tebow's mom
to continue her pregnancy with him
despite her doctor's recommendation
that she have an abortion when she
contracted an infection. At the time,
Pam Tebow and her husband were volunteering
as Christian missionaries in
the Philippines. Currently being pregnant
myself, I resonated with his and
his mom's story. (Planned Parenthood
also ran an ad during the game in
response to the Tebows' ad.)
Walking the Walk
I guess what intrigues me the most
about Tebow is his willingness to put
his faith out there for all to see—and,
unfortunately, judge. He backs up his
beliefs with hours of volunteer work,
either with his father's ministry in the
Philippines or by speaking in correctional
facilities. According to a story
ESPN did on him, he receives about
400 speaking requests each month.
I guess I'm even more aware of the
idea of living out our faith during this
time of Easter—especially when we
hear in Mark's Gospel of how Peter,
one of Jesus' most trusted companions,
so quickly denies knowing him not
once, but three times.
By the way we live our faith, do we
stand by Jesus' side or quickly fall in
line with Peter because it's easier and
safer? It's a good question to ponder
during this Easter season. And it's an
even better time to decide if we're O.K.
with where we stand.
Here are some ideas for ways you
and your family can take stock of and
live out your faith this Easter season:
• Take part in your parish's Holy
Week services. Or seek out alternate
opportunities in your area, such as a
Good Friday tradition similar to the
ones that are highlighted in this issue.
• Talk with family members about
individuals whom you admire and
explain why. Ask questions such as:
What is it about this person that I
admire? What do I think makes someone
• Take some time to reflect on ways
in which you serve as a living example
of your faith. Are there areas where you
could do better? If so, seek out volunteer
opportunities to do just that.