Rarely do Easter and the world of sports mix so smoothly, but yesterday they did.
In Augusta, Georgia, thirty-three-year-old Bubba Watson won the Masters golf championship, coming from behind and claiming the green jacket on the 2nd hole of a sudden-death playoff round.
Bubba Watson is a Christian and a very exuberant one at that. In describing himself on Twitter, he notes that he’s a “Christian, Husband, Daddy” – in that order. He leads a Bible study during the PGA tour and regularly tweets verses of Scripture. He’s a devoted husband, and he and his wife, Angie, just adopted a baby boy.
Earlier in the day down in Texas, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow’s appearance at a morning church service attracted over 15,000 people. Some drove hundreds of miles to attend.
“It’s OK to be outspoken about your faith,” Tebow told them. Tim also stressed the power of prayer in everyday life.
Athletic competition pales in comparison to the miracle and importance of Easter. In fact, some might even consider sports to be anathema to matters of faith. But from my perspective, it’s always encouraging to see an individual utilize their platform to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. And this is precisely what both Watson and Tebow have done throughout their respective careers, and especially yesterday.
Tebow and Watson were something of cultural bookends of Easter 2012, one making a splash early and the other in the last light of the day. And although different athletes playing different games, I think Bubba and Tim share several characteristics in common besides their Christian faith. These three things should be a part of my life – are they a part of yours? Here they are:
Their priorities are in order
Both athletes have repeatedly stated their careers are not the most important thing in their lives. God comes first, followed by family – and then their job.
They’re not afraid to evangelize
Watson and Tebow have both been criticized for being so bold and open about their love of Jesus. But equally important, they refuse to fire back at their detractors. It’s one thing to be outspoken – it’s another thing to do it with gentleness and grace.
They publicly lift up and praise their mothers
Did you see Bubba Watson hugging his mom last evening as tears rolled down his face? He gave her the credit for his success. Tim Tebow has likewise affirmed his mother’s positive influence, from homeschooling him to helping him develop his character and cultivate a deep love of the Lord.
Easter is a reminder, as the late Anglican cleric John Stott once said, that we live and die – but it was Christ who died and lived!
Bubba Watson and Tim Tebow are bold about their faith and living their lives with zest and enthusiasm, maximizing the respective platforms God has given them for this season of life.
Can you say the same?
How are you using what God has entrusted to you?