Syler on Tim

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.

From the Chicago Tribune:

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.


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  • MatthewS

    I appreciate this perspective – thank you for sharing it! Tebow’s style is not necessarily my style. But may I ever look for the best intentions in the other person’s journey, and may I choose to be inspired to work out what faithfulness looks like in my own context.

  • AJ

    I love it. I suppose I could look at my 17 year old self in the same way instead of being ashamed.

  • JTM

    Thanks for a non-critical, more graceful response to the Tebow thing.

  • More than, “there’s nothing wrong with that,” there is something good about that. We should regularly ask, “Who do I say I am; and, am I who I say I am?” We should ask ourselves, “Have I lost my first love and become luke warm?”

    Paul asked the Ephesians to pray, “also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

  • Charlotte Lashway

    I am a 76 yr. old great-grandmother and I am proud to wear my Tim Tebow
    t-shirt my husband lovingly bought for me for Christmas. I have nearly finished reading Tebow’s book, “Through My Eyes”. I see it as very exciting that there is a young man who is not ashamed to let the world know He trusts Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. His faithful witness has travelled around the world to the glory of God. There isn’t anything more exciting than seeing our Lord’s encouragement to be “salt” and “light” humbly fulfilled in a person’s life.

  • Sweet! (uh oh, comment was too short…)