Learning from Tim Tebow about Workplace Evangelism
I can't claim to be a football fan, but this season is the closest I've come to being one. This Saturday I'll be glued to the playoff game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots, rooting for Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
Last month, three Long Island students were suspended for "Tebowing"—mimicking Tebow's signature one-knee kneel—in the school hallways. According to the school, the sheer number of students who would mimic the move created "a safety hazard." This says a lot about Tebow's status in pop culture, as does the fact that name-checking Tebow has become a common practice in contexts as diverse as GOP presidential debates to progressive talk radio.
But Tebow's name is synonymous with more than just football (and stunning fourth-quarter wins). His signature move started as a bow to God. Tebow himself defines "Tebowing" as "to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different."
As Tebowing and Tebow himself have exploded into a nearly ubiquitous pop culture reference, he has attracted plenty of criticism, ranging from the ignorant to the outrageous, with conclusions about the larger meaning of the phenomenon ranging from bullying to unwise to maddening to sacrilegious.
I had a totally different reaction to the Tebow phenomenon: conviction.
Christians who aren't in the public spotlight might be tempted to dismiss Tebow as an exaggerated witness: maybe he is among the few in the kingdom "called" to start an Internet meme or command the attention of a football stadium.
But it's not true. In fact, it's every Christian's job to witness to the grace that saves, while gaining attention for that witness is no more our job than bestowing that salvation.
At the end of the day, Tebow is a guy doing his job while also going out of his way to make it clear that he is a Christian. And that is something all Christians can and should emulate.
Tebow is brave. Although he's not the only Christian in the NFL, it is not a workplace known for incorporating Jesus. Tebow created that space, and made it a place of praise. And he started long before he played for the NFL or the Broncos reached the playoffs.
Often, it takes courage and conviction to demonstrate Christ in the workplace. I can't imagine "Tebowing" every time I score a professional achievement in my office, but I can imagine blessing my food in public, refusing to make a decision without praying first, and talking to coworkers about my faith when the timing is appropriate.
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