Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Modern-Day Daniel?

Editor's Note: My purpose in writing this commentary is not to set anyone on a pedestal. The good Lord knows we do this all too often in and out of the Church and it's bad for everyone concerned. No, this is just a simple comparison and observation that I'm guessing I'm not the first to have. However, I felt it was worth pointing out. Thanks for humoring me. –Aimee Herd, BCN.

For those not all that familiar with Daniel, described in the pages of the Old Testament book with his name, he was a true role model.

Perhaps at that time, there were moms looking for role models for their sons, as they are today. Maybe they were hard to come by.

One thing is for sure—because of his impeccable character, integrity and steadfast faith in God—Daniel was one, even though he was just a teenager.

Daniel in the lion's denHe had the rare habit of looking past the present pleasures, and striving for God's purposes—in a place where faith in the true God was a no-no. In fact, it was entirely against the rules.

The laws of the country he'd been carted away to, along with the rest of the captured and enslaved Hebrews, didn't matter to Daniel though, because it was God's laws, and his relationship with the Maker of the Universe that he honored and kept vibrant, even in the strange land of Babylon.

The gifting that God had instilled in Daniel made a way for him, even into the king's presence. (See Proverbs 18:16)

That brings up an important point; the Babylonians, certain ones especially, didn't like Daniel, or the favor he seemed to be receiving. And, as just being who he was continued to make them look bad, they began to hate him.

Fast-forward thousands of years to 2011.

It's not a far-fetched comparison, really. Today, moms are desperately searching for current role models with integrity for their sons and daughters.

Proverbs 20:6 says, "Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?"

The public, infatuated with the famous, look to Hollywood, music, sports… and they discover good role models are on the endangered species list—but wait a minute…

It was actually in that "wide world of Sports" that I noticed someone who looked a lot like… that's right, Daniel.

Except his name is Tim—Tebow.

Tim's gifting is a little different from Daniel's; instead of interpreting dreams for the king of the land, he's re-inventing the parameters of a quarterback in the NFL.

But, his faith is pretty much the same from what I can see—he doesn't care who ridicules him for kneeling on the field and talking to God after winning a game.

(I wonder if it's a little distracting to pray with a camera shoved in your face?)

And this modern-day-Daniel has (dare I say) a "lion's share" of haters out there.

Some may dislike his unorthodox way of playing his coveted position, or warn against his inexperience—that's valid critique. But if they are hating Tebow because of the fearless and very real way that he lives out what he believes, that's another thing altogether. That just reveals cowardice on their part; just like Daniel's haters.

For example; recently, former Broncos quarterback, Jake Plummer criticized Tebow stating that "he doesn't need to say he loves Jesus Christ all the time."

But Tim stood firm for his faith using the analogy of marriage.

"If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife, I love her, the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and have the opportunity? And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ," said Tebow, adding that his relationship with the Lord "is the most important thing in my life, so every opportunity I have to tell Him I love Him... I'm going to take that opportunity."

Tim Tebow giving thanksLast week I watched an amazing comeback and winning-finish by Tim and the Broncos, and he capped it off with his usual on-one-knee posture giving thanks to the Lord.

But, it was what happened after that that really got my attention; his interview with ESPN.

I haven't been a football fan for that many years; however, I've seen my share of ESPN post-game interviews.

This one was extraordinary because the whole thing, as they waited for Tebow to come up to the podium—the huge crowd lined up in the stands to watch, and the high-energy banter coming from each ESPN commentator—had the feel of being in a revival meeting (like the Spirit of God was present there).

I thought, "What is going ON?! These announcers are SO excited to talk to Tim. These people who had spurned his "sub-par" techniques last week, were so obviously caught up in the moment, and seemingly moved by "something."

It was almost hilarious to watch, because they seemed so unsuspectingly overtaken, not just by the incredible win, but even more by Tebow's authentic life of faith.

When he finally came out and sat with them, the contagious jubilance seemed to grow. Tim calmly answered questions with candor, thought and much grace. He noted that winning wasn't as important as the children's hospital he is partnering with CURE to build in the Philippines where he was born.

When he left, the ESPN commentators seemed to have difficulty finding the right words to describe this young player. To me they seemed happy; perhaps relieved to come in contact with someone who seemed so genuine in integrity and faith.

I'll state it again, my purpose is NOT to put Tebow (who is as imperfect as any of us) or anyone else on a pedestal—no one should be in that place but the Lord—this is just an interesting parallel that came to mind last Thursday.

As moms and dads look for good (and safe) role models for their children, Tim Tebow seems to be very aware of that responsibility, and perhaps might be a good one.

But as Believers, I think it's important for us to pray for him. As his gifting has given him a platform to live and speak his faith in God; (not to get too spiritual on you, but) he is, and will be a target for the enemy.

I personally find it refreshing to see someone who's been put in such a position; take that place and his walk with the Lord so seriously.

Kudos to Tim's parents as well!