As a long-time Denver Broncos fan, there’s been nothing more exciting than watching Peyton Manning take command on the football field this season. It’s especially fun when you consider where the men in orange and blue were just a few years ago. Remember Tim Tebow - the uber-Christian who found his way to the Mile High City?
Tebow may have lacked talent, but he had no shortage of public enthusiasm for his faith. Even as he scrambled around the field in chaos, there was the opportunity to take a knee and publically thank God in his much-mimicked Tebowing fashion.
While Tebow got publicity for his faith, Manning is regularly talked about for his skills and record-breaking statistics. You rarely hear anything mentioned about his faith.
Recently, in anticipation of the Broncos’ upcoming appearance in the Super Bowl, quotes from a 2001 book by Manning have been circling in which Manning discusses his faith. Yes, he’s a believer. And, honestly, it wasn’t all that surprising, considering how Manning conducts himself as a person. In the book, called Manning, Peyton wrote that he’s been a Christian since the age of 13, saying:
My faith doesn’t make me perfect, it just makes me forgiven, and provides me the assurance I looked for half my life ago. …I consider myself fortunate to be able to go to Him for guidance, and I hope (and pray) I don’t do too many things that displease Him. …I believe, too, that life is much better and freer when you’re committed to God in that way.
When it comes to football and faith, he said:
Some players get more vocal about it … and some point to heaven after scoring a touchdown and praise God after games. I have no problem with that. But I don’t do it, and don’t think it makes me any less a Christian. I just want my actions to speak louder.
When it comes to expressing faith, I’m not sure you could find a more extreme difference than that between Manning and Tebow. And my guess is our Think Christian community is probably split on which way is better. Some will always like the in-your-face style of Christianity, while others prefer the more subdued, lead-by-example method.
If I’m honest, I’ve always been a lead-by-example kind of guy. Some would say that’s taking the easy, more comfortable route, but I find friends and co-workers are more receptive to talking about faith when they see something unique about me. You’re acting in a different way or you seem happier than the people around you. When they ask why that is, and you say it’s because of your personal faith, it seems like people are more receptive.
I don’t know about you, but for me finding the right way to share my faith with others is a struggle. I work in ministry. I have multiple avenues where I can share my beliefs and encourage other Christians. In that way, my faith is very public, like Tebow’s. Yet I often wonder if working outside of the Christian bubble would actually be better for building the Kingdom. Like Manning, would I have more genuine opportunities to talk about my faith if I lived my life in a way that inspired others?
Regardless of where you fall with Tebow or Manning, I want to leave you with this. God bless and go Broncos!