Shepherds, Spies, and Quarterbacks, Oh My: One Girl’s Take on the Tim Tebow Phenomenon

Of late, the topic of conversation with my girlfriends has been, what else, Tim Tebow.  Never in my wildest would I have imagined talking about football on the phone with my besties, around the play-date table (where our rapid-fire mommy-chitchat normally focuses on such topics as new recipes, ear infections, and toddler hijinks), or on this blog.  Never imagined…


Pinch my husband, he’s dreaming.

I’ve been on the Tebow bandwagon since he was drafted.  I had to be.  With marriage came a necessary transference of my football allegiances- for long ago, a young Honeybun, living where Bill and Giant countries meet, began rooting for the Denver Broncos.  You might say we’re fans.  We have Bronco shirts, Bronco jerseys, Bronco jackets, Bronco coffee mugs, Bronco towels, Bronco socks, Bronco footballs, Bronco helmets, Bronco pennants, Bronco pajamas, Bronco hats, Bronco onesies, Bronco bibs, and matted and framed Bronco autographs.  We have a John Elway action figure, for heaven’s sake.

That’s die-hard.

Yes, rooting for Tebow came as naturally as white on Bronco road jerseys.  But it became evermore so when I began to realize that he was a living embodiment of the personal promises that God’s been sewing in my own heart for the past year and a half.

Let’s just get this out there:

Jesus roots for Tim Tebow.

Now hold it, before you get your Under Armour in a bunch let me also say this:

Jesus also roots for every other player in the NFL.  Because that’s what a daddy does.  He roots for his kids.

His rooting for football players (and their coaches, cheerleaders, and fans) doesn’t necessarily mean making touchdowns.  And being on our side doesn’t always mean winning  football games.  No, His kind of rooting means being all about the end game, that Superbowl of life- eternity.  And sometimes He uses senior citizens and sometimes He uses shepherds, sometimes He uses teenagers and sometimes He uses spies… and sometimes He uses football players.

Nearly 2 years ago, God showed me a verse, one I’m sure I read many times in my Bible-reading, but one that never stood out until I read it one day in a devotional, and another 3 times in the subsequent books I was reading.  Since then, I’ve adopted it as one of two personal life-verses.  It comes from the story of King Asa, who at the beginning of his rule was given a promise, that “The Lord will be with you when you are with him.”  And God was.  It says in 2 Chronicles 15: 15 that “All the people of Judah were happy about the promise, because they had promised with all their heart.  They looked for God and found him.  So the Lord gave them peace in all the country.”

But somewhere along the journey Asa thought he could handle it.  Whether he got cocky or whether he somehow thought God’s promise would wear out, he decided to take matters into his own hands and made a treaty with another nation.  He ended up forfeiting God’s favor.  The Lord sent Hanani the seer to rebuke Asa, and in Hanani’s speech is where I found my verse.  2 Chronicles 16: 9 says,

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. (emphasis mine)

Whoa.  God is waiting and eagerly looking for those people who have hearts completely devoted to Him so that He can show Himself strong on their behalf.

It’s nothing new.  Caleb served God “whole-hearted-ly” and only he and Joshua, of the original millions of Israelites, were allowed to enter the Promised Land.  David was a “man after God’s own heart” and became a prosperous king and part of the lineage of Christ.  Caleb, an eighty-year old man who became a spy and was convinced that God would give Israel victory over the “giants”- he believed and fought his way into the land of milk and honey.  And David, a shepherd boy with a slingshot who became a mighty king-  I’d say that God was strongly supporting. Sound like someone else?

It’s confounding.  When was the last time you met an 80-year old warrior-spy?  How about a former sheep tender, herder, care-taker, wound-dresser, shearer that became the king of a powerful nation?  It shouldn’t happen.  But when a brave old man knows who ultimately wins the battle and when a trusting young boy waits to take the throne until God provides it, anything can happen.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 says,

…look at what you were when God called you.  Not many of you were wise in the way the world judges wisdom.  Not many of you had great influence.  Not many of you came from important families.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and he chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose what the world thinks is unimportant and what the world looks down on and thinks is nothing in order to destroy what the world thinks is important.  God did this so that no one can brag in his presence.  Because of God you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God.  In Christ we are put right with God, and have been made holy, and have been set free from sin.  So, as the Scripture says, ‘If someone wants to brag, he should brag only about the Lord.’

Sound like someone else?  How about a freshly-drafted football player whom all the commentators have made their bets against?  How about a man that keeps winning football games in ways never seen before- a man who puts it all back on the Lord who gave him his gifts and abilities?

God loves a good paradox. 

So whether it’s a quarterback that keeps winning or a tither with a steady bank account, whether it’s the mother who lost her child but still  finds the capacity for joy and thankfulness, or the raped and molested finding forgiveness for her attackers, sometimes it’s the unbelievable that God uses to make us all sit back and say, “Huh.”

Sometimes it’s only the crazy that makes us really, truly see

Why else would He allow a murderer/shepherd to rescue a whole nation from slavery- and sustain them in the desert for 40 years?  Why else would He use fishermen to preach the gospel- and astound the “religious leaders?”  Why else would He send His Son to earth to be a carpenter- who healed the sick, the lame, the blind, and the broken-hearted?  God loves irony too.  That murderer/shepherd?  He ended up shepherding millions of hard-headed sinners.  Those fishermen?  They ended up fishing for men.  That Son of His?  He didn’t just carve out blocks of wood, He fashioned men’s souls.

Make no mistake,

Jesus likes football.  Jesus can play football.  And sometimes, I think He does.

If He cared enough to cause His Spirit to “enter” Bazalel and Oholiab to be artists (Ex. 31:3, 35:25-35), Othniel to be a judge (Judges 3:10), Gideon to be the leader of an army (Judges 6: 34), and Samson to be a body-builder (Judges 14:6), don’t you think He could do the same for a quarterback?

I do.  And I pray that He does the same through me, whatever that looks like.  And so my goal, my aim, my only concern, is to have a heart after God.  He’s in charge of the rest.  I’ll do, I’ll be, whatever He wants me to be, and I’ll give Him the glory.  Because it’s only Him. How grateful I am to have a God who will do whatever it takes- using shepherds, spies, and quarterbacks- to do His will, to reach out to us, to mirror His love, and  display His power.

One question though…what number do you think He wears?  Infinity?

“God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.”  -Martin Luther