This column flew off the top of my head and on to the page before I knew it. Thank you for reading me every week and indulging in my fanciful notions.
“Oh, how the mighty have fallen!” These are lamenting words penned by David over 3,000 years ago for King Saul and his beloved friend, Jonathan. These same words are sung for great heroes who have fallen today.
When God entrusts a person with a talent in the arts, sports or in business, the person is responsible for the gift and to the giver. That talent will lift him a head and shoulders above the ordinary. And how does he hedge against a fall? I believe it is developing surefootedness in character; and home is where his story begins.
I became aware of a young college football player who my 14-year-old grandson, Creede immortalizes as his hero. Creede’s bedroom is decorated from ceiling to floor with the team’s colors, orange and blue. His only request for Christmas was that his Dad take him to a Florida Gator’s game, which he did. You can not miss this special grandson of mine with his bright orange sweatshirt.
For me to enter into my grandson’s life, I must enter through the door of football. This is the place where I meet with this child. This is where our conversation overflows. He knows the stats of every player, coach and team. The first time I sat down to watch his hero, Tim Tebow, I was taken by surprise at his eye black, and in it is printed in white, a different scripture reference for each game.
It takes a big man to stand for his convictions and wear it on his face. Every fan waits to see this young man play. The world wants and needs to cheer when he wins and feel sadness when he cries because he thinks he has let down his team. Oh the weight that is placed on his shoulders as a role model not only for my grandson but millions of young boys who are shaping their lives according to their role model, TimTebow.
And what insures this young Heisman winner the ability to stand against the pressures of success? It is his integrity and character that has been developed. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years. Home is where his story begins.
I went to Tebow Zone just to catch a word or two by his fans. There are pages of facts and stats on his accomplishments. A fan writes,
“You know what an amazing athlete he is and an even better human being. Tim Tebow is the type of man I want my daughter to marry.”
One coach writes, “Tim Tebow is probably the greatest athletic in college football I have ever seen.”
“The Florida Gators handled the Cincinnati Bearcats 51-24 in the 2010 Sugar Bowl. Tim Tebow played his final game as a Florida Gator and man did he go out with a bang. Tim played as close to a perfect game as I’ve ever seen him,” says one fan.
For his eye black for the Sugar Bowl was Ephesians 2:8-10.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” These quotes are taken from Tebow Zone.
There is no boasting in Tim Tebow even though he could. He knows he is not his own, that he is the workmanship of God who has prepared him for good works. He has not given over to his success but to his inner commitment. He knows he has been entrusted with an incredible gift, the ability to play football well. He has the responsibility of guarding against his own nature, the temptation of believing it belongs to him.
Tim Tebow has been given an incredible gift, the ability to play football well. We sit as recipients and marvel. We are appreciative. We, the fans, give little in comparison to the one who carries the burden of the talent. He is able to inspire and transform others by submitting to a higher calling. He knows that the gift is from above. He hopes that no one is drawn to him but to the message written on his face. What a mighty responsibility to live up to the talent that has been entrusted to him.
A young man I knew years ago referred to an illustration that his wise grandfather once told him. This young man had a beautiful voice. He was always the lead in every school performance; he was the protégé of his choir teachers. They all wanted to be a part of his growth. He was well on his way to achieving great heights with his voice. The grandfather said,
“Grandson, if you believe this talent is yours, it is like borrowing a boat and taking it out on the water and racing it, being a hotshot so everyone can see you. The boat doesn’t belong to you, it is borrowed. You have deceived your friends.”
How pitiful is a man with a big talent who possesses a small character. We expect great men to be great. When they are taken by a fault, we cry for them. On their way down, they tear away a part of the fiber in us. We look to those in high places as the ones who point us to higher achievements and greater decency.
Oh, that we might not sing the song of David, “Oh how the mighty have fallen.”
Final brushstroke: A role model needs feet to stand firm on high places and he needs character to match the size of the job. So goes our role models, whether parents, heroes or leaders, artists and writers and musicians so goes our country. Our duty is to pray.
Letters from readers
Send your comments to
Bettyslade@centurytel.net. As artists and writers we have been given a voice in our community. We would love to hear from you.
On Changes, Thanks for the inspirational thoughts, especially the concept of letting go of the trapeze! This verse also comes to mind … “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43.19
Your piece on changes reminds of my sister’s quote on her e-mails – Life is what happens when you’ve made other plans. True.”
I love your piece — but one observation is that I was confused if the artisan’s coop changed its sign or closed for business? (It changed direction).
Change — Powerful topic to our current culture in America. Hope we are ready to change as God leads His Church through the coming days.
Grass Valley, Calif.
Quote of the week
“In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” — Warren Buffet.