He’s also the son of Baptist missionaries and America’s most famous homeschooled football player, whose feats, on and off the field, are already the stuff of legend.
Whether it’s preaching to prison inmates or winning a Heisman Trophy; whether it’s ministering to orphans in the Philippines or winning a national championship while he was the University of Florida’s quarterback; whether it’s getting picked in the first round of the NFL draft (when many sports commentators said it’d never happen) or appearing in an upbeat pro-life commercial with his mother (who was advised by a doctor to abort him) during the Super Bowl in 2010; or whether it’s praying with hospital patients and avoiding the high-profile moral and legal scrapes that high-profile athletes often get into, Tebow continually beats the odds and does it with passion and courage. Consequently, he has earned a massive national following, even among non-football fans, who appreciate how he stays true to his Christian, conservative convictions and does it in an appealing fashion.
And sometimes it even looks as if he has special favor with the Maker.
Take Saturday's game — the one between the Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins.
It was Tebow’s first game of the year as the starting quarterback. (Kyle Orton was benched after holding the number one spot.) Due to Orton’s lackluster performance and Bronco fans chanting Tebow’s name at past games (as well as one Denver entrepreneur named Mohammad Suleiman, who hosted a billboard with a pointed message to the Bronco coach: ‘Broncos Fans to John Fox: Play Tebow!’), the pressure has been on the Bronco front office to put Tebow on America’s biggest sports stage.
When it was announced earlier this month that Tebow had indeed scored the starting position, ESPN the Magazine put the young man on its cover with the headline: "Enter Tebow." An online version of the article which accompanied the ESPN story — "Tebow 10:23" — has already netted 3,000+ comments.
Game on. Unfortunately, Tebow got off to a very rocky start in Miami. It appeared the naysayers — who constantly declare that Tebow is a nice chap, but he isn’t NFL QB material — would be proved right.
But then Tebow’s fourth-quarter miracle occurred.
Here’s how the AP story, linked to by Drudge, put it:
For 54 minutes, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos couldn't score. Then they couldn't be stopped. Tebow rallied the Broncos with two touchdown passes in the final 2:44 … to force overtime, and Matt Prater's 52-yard field goal gave them an improbable 18-15 victory Sunday over the stunned Miami Dolphins.
Watch the highlights, and you’ll see that Tebow fell to his knees after the game and then praised his teammates for playing with heart.
It’s hard to remember that this handsome, strapping guy is a millionaire who has huge standing in the kingdoms of the world, because somehow he still manages to convey a diligent, humble, full-of- faith, Mr.-Smith-Goes-To-Washington kind of persona.
Which is, of course, the ideal mindset for "success" in the kingdom of God.
Isabel Lyman, author of The Homeschooling Revolution, blogs at The Castillo Chronicles: http://thecastillochronicles.blogspot.com