Syler Thomas, co-author of Jesus Creed for Students, was an acting student who got an interesting note recently from one of his theatre profs who gave him a different angle on Tim Tebow. Youthful fidelity is a good thing.
I wasn’t proud of the fact that I was the only pastor in America who wasn’t rooting for Tim Tebow, but I didn’t know what to do about it.
Then I got an email that changed everything.
It was from an old college professor of mine who has since retired. I went to a small conservatory theater program where I majored in acting. Because there were fewer than 200 students in the entire school, everyone pretty much knew everyone’s business there. And as a young adult whose faith was exploding for the first time, it was no secret to anyone at the school that I was a Christian, and I experienced a bit of grief as a result. The professor who emailed me wasn’t particularly adamant about his own faith but had shown support for me while I was there.
Here’s what it said: “Watching a news show this morning and two sports columnists attack Tebow because he expresses his faith. It reminded me of some of the crap you were subjected to at school and how you prevailed. Good for you.”
Huh? He was saying I was the Tim Tebow of my theater program, circa 1993? (Minus the dashing good looks and raw talent, of course.)
And it made me think: Did people think about me then the way some people think about Tebow now — with a roll of the eyes (why won’t he just knock off the religious stuff for a while?) or a patronizing pat on the head (aw, what a nifty fella he is)?
And my answer was: probably. Moreover, if I was able to hang out with 19-year-old me right now, would I have the attitude my professor had (good for you) or would I respond more like Warner (just take it down a notch, pal)?
And it made me realize that 19-year-old me wasn’t trying to be showy with my faith, or obnoxious, or combative. All I was really trying to be was faithful. And I realized that that’s all Tim Tebow is doing. He’s just trying to be faithful with the life that God has given him.
Isn’t that what any of us should hope to do? Be faithful in big and small ways, with whomever we encounter, be they the cashier who gives us the wrong change, the co-worker who talks too much or (in Tebow’s case) the reporter who asks us a question?
So keep on being faithful, Timmy. Who knows? Maybe the 38-year-old you will look back on the 24-year-old you and shake his head, and wish he’d toned it down a bit.
But if he does, he should remember this: He was just trying to be faithful. And there’s nothing wrong with that.