The legend of Jeremy Lin continues. After hitting the winning three-pointer for the Knicks last night, Lin’s escapades have taken on the same level of public wonder that Tim Tebow and his miracle comebacks for the Broncos inspired this past NFL season. Granted, Lin’s story is hardly a carbon copy of Tebow’s. Lin played in collegiate obscurity at Harvard, was cast off by two other NBA clubs, and played in the basketball equivalent of the minor leagues earlier this year before injuries forced him into the New York lineup. Oh yeah, he also was sleeping on his brother’s couch until very recently. Tebow, lest it be forgotten, was a Heisman Trophy winner, a first round draft pick, and the object of a public campaign by Bronco fans to convince the team to make him the starting quarterback. While not public knowledge, it’s also a good bet he has enjoyed the overnight comfort of at least a pillow top or memory foam for the duration of his NFL employment.
Yet there is another common thread to these men beyond their Paul Bunyanesqe athletic exploits. Both have an unswerving devotion to Jesus Christ. If you don’t know Tebow loves Jesus, you don’t know that Denver has thin air. While some, even Christian former MVP QB Kurt Warner, may think his public demonstrations of faith are a bit over the top, few would dare question their sincerity. By all accounts Tebow is as worthy a spokesman for Christ as you’ll find. Though Lin maintains a lower profile about that aspect of his life, his faith has become public knowledge with his rise to fame, and he too is widely lauded for backing up his beliefs with his conduct.
Tebow is quick to sqash the notion that any of his on-field success was the result of divine intervention, whether that theory grew out of his vocal devotion, or because of his relative lack of skill as a professional QB in the eyes of most. I have yet to hear the same theory proposed regarding Lin. Perhaps that’s because he’s obviously a very good NBA point guard by the common standards used to judge such skills. Perhaps it’s becuase Tebow has rendered it a “been there, done that” topic. Regardless, I’m sure both men reject the notion that God tips the scales in favor of the team with the most ardent believers.
I totally agree with that stance, yet as Christians, we really shouldn’t be surprised at the individual success of either of these guys. Acknowledging Christ before men should be rewarded. Matthew 6:22 clearly states “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” It’s not that far-fetched to interpret “all these things” to include athletic success. Sports for Tebow and Lin is their ministry, and in today’s sports-crazed society, what better witnesses could the Lord choose? So next time an athlete comes seemingly out of nowhere openly professing his faith in Jesus, don’t be shocked when sets his sport on fire. After all, we’ve seen it before, long before Lin, or Tebow, with a guy by the name of…Kurt Warner.