Does God really want Tim Tebow to win?
I’ve heard this come up on numerous sports talk radio shows in the past few weeks, and it's insanely irritating to hear sports experts talk about theology, philosophy, morality, the constitution or basically anything besides sports. It’s not irritating because they’re idiots, most of them are really smart guys. It’s irritating because their area of expertise isn’t this topic, it’s sports, so most of them haven’t given very much thought to this particular topic, so they are basically amateurs when it comes to these areas of discussion.
I’m an amateur when it comes to most sports discussions (except baseball trivia), and I’m especially clueless on the NFL, so I won’t give you my predictions or thoughts on the NFL playoffs, because I’m just a clueless Texans fan.
However, I do answer theological, philosophical, and moral questions with great regularity in my everyday life, so I have given lots of thought to this particular topic. I’m not sure I’m an expert, but I sure have an opinion that has been developed through a lot of thinking, reading and discussing these ideas.
So here we go.
Does God want Tim Tebow to win football games because he is an outspoken Christian/ good guy/man of character/prays in public a lot?
Short answer, in my opinion. No.
There are lots of guys in the NFL who fit the above description. They aren’t as high profile as Tebow because they didn’t win a National Championship and the Heisman Trophy when they were in college. So, let’s assume that pretty much every team in the league has some Christian guy who loves the Lord, gives his time and money to great causes and prays for victory on Sunday. If that’s true, then how does God pick the winners? Actually this topic was addressed extremely well by none other than President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. This quote both sides pleading with God to win the war from his 2nd Inaugural address sums it up….
“Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.”
God has his own purposes, and I’m pretty sure what happens in an NFL Wild Card Playoff game isn’t a real big part of his grand plan. It’s not that God doesn’t care about Tim Tebow and every other player on the field, regardless of their beliefs and actions, He does. It’s that God’s heart isn’t caught up in rewarding people who love him with success, in any endeavor. Sometimes people who follow Jesus and talk about it win. Sometimes people who don’t believe in God win. I don’t think God intervenes in football games. Aaron Rodgers had an amazing season last year, he is an outspoken Christian. He didn’t claim that God wanted them to win. I don’t think Tebow has ever claimed that either. The only people saying that are clueless (about this topic) sports talk analysts. The overwhelming majority of Christian athletes would never claim that God wanted them to win. When they talk about “thanking Jesus” after the game, it is in respect to his role as their Creator giving them the physical talents to play the game at a high enough level to win at the highest level. They aren’t saying that God caused them to win, because they are more righteous. They aren’t more righteous, they probably already know that.
God doesn’t always bless the righteous. This is clear. The definitive example is Jesus. He was perfect. He never messed up. He lost. He died on a cross. He was ridiculed, shamed, abandoned, tortured, and murdered. God has his own purposes. Without this “loss” the ensuing victory of the resurrection would be meaningless.
So please stop saying that God wants Tim Tebow to win. God wants Tim Tebow to do the things that God loves. God loves when we love one another, care for the poor, the orphan, the widow, the outcast. God loves when we live for Him instead of ourselves. God loves when we focus on things that last forever, instead of things that will fade away. Tim Tebow (and others) are merely trying to express that in a short interview after a football game. They aren’t trying to make a case that God is a Broncos fan or a Tebow fan.
In conclusion, I wish sports talk show hosts bring in experts to interview on their shows all the time. I wish they would bring in someone who was an expert in theological issues to discuss Tebow and his faith.
If any of them are reading this, I’ll pretend to be an expert for your show. Feel free to give me a call. :)