2012 may go down as the year of the exemplary evangelical athlete. First, Denver Bronco Quarterback Tim Tebow inspires the nation – not just with come-from-behind wins – but with Christian character and zeal. And then, just as Tebowmania is beginning to wane, along comes Linsania – enthusiasm over the unlikely hero of the New York Knicks, devout Christian, Jeremy Lin.
Like Tebow, Lin has proved the secret ingredient for transforming a losing team into a winning one. Lin’s first seven starts resulted in seven straight New York Knick wins. But unlike Tebow, Lin doesn’t hail from a powerhouse athletic university; he went to Harvard. Lin also was overlooked in the NBA draft.
However, both Tebow and Lin have this in common – both have used their unlikely moments of fame to promote God, rather than themselves. In practically every interview, Tebow thanks “his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Similarly, when Lin scored a career-high 38 points in a game last month, he publicly gave all the praise to God. Lin admitted he hasn’t always been this way. But, after spending time in God’s Word, Lin said he decided “. . . to stop chasing the perishable prizes of this earth” and instead to give his “best effort” for God.
Sometimes Lin and Tebow seem almost too good to be true – though it’s likely their stories are true because both decided to be good. Either way, these Christian athletes are inspiring the next generation of believers worldwide. Though Lin is of Taiwanese descent, he’s become a favorite son in China and a powerful source of encouragement for Chinese Christians.
A seminary professor in China says she plans to use Lin’s faith and success as a model for students in her theological English class. And, recently a Chinese blogger asked, “How should young Christians live the life of the Lord? We have a good example in (Jeremy Lin). . .” So true.
D.L. Moody once said that the world has yet to see what God can do with a man who’s fully and wholly consecrated to Him. Yet, perhaps in Tebow and Lin, we’re all getting a glimpse.
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