MIAMI (BP)–With “John 3:16” written on top of his eye black, Tim Tebow led his Florida Gators to victory Jan. 8 against the Oklahoma Sooners in a 24-14 win in the BCS National Championship.
Replacing his trademark “Phil 4:13,” Tebow’s game face gave yet another indicator of his oft-discussed faith in God.
In the secular press and Christian outlets alike, the stories of Tebow’s faith have been heard around the world.
Pat Forde, senior writer at ESPN.com, wrote in his column Jan. 6, “There are plenty of athletes who talk the pious talk. Plenty of athletes who write scripture on their eye black the way Tebow does or thank God after victories. But how many have walked the walk like Tebow — walked it into the prisons, into the slums of the Philippines, into the hearts of people in need of a role model? How many, at age 21, have done as much work on behalf of those less fortunate?”
Tebow’s parents, Bob and Pam Tebow, head up the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association. Every summer since he was 15, Tebow has traveled to the Philippines on a summer mission trip with the organization. He has spoken to thousands of students over the years, sharing the simple message of salvation.
Tebow received widespread media coverage for his spring break trip to the Philippines in 2008 where he was joined by a few University of Florida pre-med students, his dad, and others. They stayed at the orphanage and spoke in schools and markets and conducted medical clinics — reaching nearly 7,000 people, of which 5,388 indicating they made a decision to receive Jesus Christ as Savior.
In Florida, Tebow routinely sets aside time from his busy academic and practice schedule to volunteer with the Children’s Miracle Network as part of the Goodwill Gators at the University of Florida, visiting sick children.
In an interview with the Florida Baptist Witness, Tebow’s mother Pam said, “I’m not saying he’s perfect. I never want to insinuate that, none of us are, that’s why we need Christ. But we’re grateful that he’s been able to maintain his convictions and his strength.”
By all the measures in college athletics, Tebow stands on top. In addition to winning two national championships, he was the winner of the 2007 Heisman trophy, the first sophomore to take home the award. His shelves are now also lined with the 2008 Wuerffel Trophy, the 2007 and 2008 Maxwell Awards and the 2008 Disney Spirit Award.
Danny Wuerffel, the 1996 Heisman winner and fellow Gator, has been a hero of Tebow for many years. Wuerffel, also an outspoken Christian, called Tebow in December to tell him he had won the Wuerffel trophy, named for him.
“Without question, you completely deserve this award and I am so excited to announce that you’re this year’s winner,” Wuerffel said to Tebow the morning he was informed of the award, as recounted in a news release.
“It was just amazing to see the success that Tim has had in all three aspects of this award: academically, athletically and in the community and service to other people,” Wuerffel continued. “He’s just an amazing young man, an amazing football player. I’m just so incredibly proud to have him [as the winner].”