JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Courage to stand alone, a willingness to serve others and the ability to finish strong are three components to a life of significance and purpose, according to Tim Tebow.
“No one’s ever really done anything significant when they’ve been with the pack,” Tebow said April 19 during his keynote address at Union University’s second annual Roy L. White Legacy Golf and Gala. “They’ve had to stand alone to do something significant.”
The banquet event drew about 1,700 people to the Carl Perkins Civic Center and completed a day that began with a golf tournament at the Jackson Country Club.
Tebow, a two-time national champion as quarterback for the University of Florida and the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, talked about the difficult decision he faced in selecting a college. While he was hoping for a clear word from God about where he was supposed to play college football, that word never came — and Tebow chose Florida because of his relationship with Gators coach Urban Meyer.
“Even though God sometimes doesn’t show you, you have to trust in Him — because He’s the only one that knew that Florida was the right place for me,” Tebow said. “Me just trusting in him and not even knowing His plan, that’s what got me to the right place. That’s what led me to Florida, and it truly was a blessing.”
Tebow’s career will head in a new direction April 22-24, when he is expected to be chosen in the NFL draft. Tebow said playing in the NFL has been his dream since he was 6 years old.
“Just like high school to college, I don’t know where the next step leads for me,” Tebow said. “I don’t know what the future folds. But you know what gives me peace and comfort, even though I don’t know what the future holds? I know Who holds my future, and that’s what gives me peace.”
Tebow told about the SEC championship game in 2008 when Florida trailed Alabama by three points in the fourth quarter. He gathered his offense and challenged his teammates to finish well. The Gators came from behind to win the game and went on to defeat Oklahoma for the national title.
At the end of that national title game was a moment that Tebow calls one of the greatest moments of his athletic career. As he was walking to the sideline, Meyer hugged him and said, “Timmy, great job. That-a-boy. You finished strong.”
That moment was more special than winning the Heisman or winning the national title, Tebow said, because it was an intimate moment with a coach who was a father-figure to him.
“My greatest goal in my life is that when I’m in heaven and I’m standing before Jesus Christ, he opens up His arms, and He walks up to me, and he gives me a hug, and he says, ‘Timmy, great job. You finished. That-a-boy.’
“Let me ask you that question,” Tebow told the audience. “Is Jesus going to say to you, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant’?”
In a question-and-answer session following his speech, Tebow addressed such issues as the nationwide reaction to the Super Bowl ad from Focus on the Family (“It was a God story all the way,” Tebow said), how he can be a good steward of the influence he has (Tebow said football is a means to the end of telling people about Jesus), his most difficult moment at Florida (the loss to Alabama in the 2009 SEC title game) and the new NCAA rule that prohibits players from wearing messages in their eye black (he understands the decision but thinks it’s unfortunate that players won’t have the ability to share things that are important to them).
Tim Ellsworth is director of news and media relations at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.