I like Tim Tebow as an athlete. I appreciate his willingness and heart to work with children in the Philippines and to proclaim Jesus as His Lord and Savior on the public stage. However, he is not my hero…and I do not think he desires to be anyone’s hero; but, he would have to answer that part.
I came from a life of athletics and was certainly one who worshipped sports and athletes. Sports had my heart; football was my idol. The smell of a well manicured field, the thrill of collisions and the cheering of the crowd was an extremely addictive high. And, this seems to be true for pro athletes also, as we see their difficulty in adjusting to real life after sports.
But back to Tebow. While he’s certainly a different kind of athlete, and one which holds to a moral example in the midst of a very immoral sporting culture, he is still not my hero and wasn’t a person I lifted before my boys to be their hero. Why? Well, to be honest with you, I look higher up the spiritual ladder for heroes. I’ve never seen much spiritual depth in the hollywood celebrities and athletes who carry on about ‘Jesus.’ Their shallow use of religious phraseology never offered an example of walking ‘in the Spirit’ that I desired to set before my boys. My wife, Susanne, and I have always directed our three boys to look higher. (They are all grown now.) We wanted them to look above the lower limbs in the small trees and find a hero among the eagles perched in the top of the largest trees. So, where did we point them? Glad you asked!
As they were growing up, we doted over the Apostle Paul, Hudson Taylor and William Carey. We lauded the sacrifice of John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, John Wesley and D.L. Moody. We quoted Watchman Nee, Andrew Murray and A. W. Tozer. In fact, we even spent much time going back to Abraham, David and Jeremiah. See, our goal has never been to pressure them to be successful according to the world’s definition. Instead, we pointed them toward the reality that we only live in shadowlands. That this life is fleeting faster than a sunset over the beach. And when all is said and done…the only thing which matters is what we have accomplished by God’s grace and for eternity.
See, I don’t think the Lord really cares which overpaid football team wins the super bowl or gets the first round draft pick. He has greater things on His heart…like the planting of churches and reaching the lost. Like revealing to the poor and needy the inexplicable love of Jesus and teaching those who hunger after righteousness the vast treasures from His Word.
The Bible defines reproduction as “like begetting like.” If our children see us idolizing the shallow, the carnal or the lower examples of faith….that is what will begin germinating in their hearts. Let’s plant bigger seed into the next generation. Seeds of missionaries who sacrificed the things of this world in order to plant the gospel. Church planters who, through blood, sweat, prayers and tears, plant the message of Jesus in unreached places. Seeds of service to challenge young men and women to higher education in order to help their fellow man as medical missionaries. Seeds of prayer to watch the next generation become the praying bride she should be.
No…there are not any athletes or celebrities which can measure up to be my hero or the hero I desire to set before my boys or the next generation. My sights are much higher!