Football: Our Finest Christian Witness

By Ed Spivey Jr. 1-11-2012
"Jesus is My Coach" figurine via
"Jesus is My Coach" figurine via

When God chose Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow to be His witness to a hurting world, it might not have been clear that this was only a temporary calling. To be sure, during the regular season God was appreciative of Tebow’s on-field witness of kneeling in prayer and pointing skyward after every touchdown. After all, what better way to show the power of divine love than in front of millions of people drinking beer on the Sabbath.

And for those nonbelievers who doubt that the Holy Spirit is active in the world today we simply point to how God in His Mercy rewarded Tim Tebow’s witness with a win in every regular season game he played, except against the Oakland Raiders, the Tennessee Titans, the Green Bay Packers, the San Diego Chargers, the Detroit Lions, the Buffalo Bills, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the New England Patriots.

But the regular season is over now, and when the Broncos and the Patriots meet in the second-round championship game this weekend, God’s true plan will finally be revealed, possibly written across the face of Tim Tebow in letters made of dirt, grass, and other organic solids — or, depending on the surface of the field, Astroturf — from the repeated and painful sacks delivered by the opposing team.

Because, unknown to most of us, God is in fact a New England Patriots fan. Although He deeply appreciates the public displays of righteousness by Tim Tebow, he holds a special place in His heart for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, whom He has blessed with several nice homes and automobiles, a rich wife, and superior football skills, particularly on third and long. Admittedly, Brady is not as demonstrative after touchdowns as Tebow who, with the deepest humility, gave all glory and praise to God for every score. Although, to be honest, his public displays of faithfulness — indistinguishable in substance and intent from the acts of Jesus of Nazareth chronicled in the New Testament — were not always justified, since in exactly half the regular season games God appeared to be elsewhere. But even in these games, the ever-faithful Tebow bowed his head in reverence as he walked — or in some cases crawled — off the field, silently grateful that even an absent God had the power to ensure his team would not lose by more than 35 points. Praise the Lord.

God will be at the game on Sunday, smiling down on his devoted disciple Tim Tebow, a Christian athlete who is not afraid to credit a god who cares enough to turn away from the cries of the poor and hungry to help a quarterback throwing the long bomb down the right sideline. But in truth God will not be watching because Tebow gives his all to the Lord, but because Tom Brady gives his all to football. And, as God knows, that’s what counts on game day.

Ed Spivey Jr. is art director of Sojourners magazine.

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