by Tim Tebow, with A. J. Gregory
When obstacles come and crises hit, we can step up and do something that matters. In Irma’s aftermath, I saw thousands and thousands of volunteers—I like to call them heroes—who on an ordinary day might not get the chance to give so selflessly. They were more than just human beings. Rallying with one another, in spite of whatever differences they may have had, these people were rescue teams, helping families escape flood-ravaged neighborhoods. They were food and water teams, providing those without electricity and power something to eat. They were Jesus-giving teams, encouraging those who had nowhere to go. This is powerful.
As Christians, we have to be aware of the world around us. We have to take the focus off ourselves and our problems and do something for someone else. Not only is doing this part of our identity in Jesus, but it also helps to put things in perspective. I think some people are waiting for this crazy revolution, a mind-blowing revelation, or some big event like a natural disaster to step up and show the love of Jesus. During a natural disaster, sure, it’s easy to see the need. But I’ve learned that opportunities are plentiful every day, sometimes right in front of our eyes—in our own communities, even in our own families.
We just need to be ready to say yes.
We need to infiltrate the places that desperately need the hope of God. We need to be in the hospitals, homeless shelters, orphanages, and homes down the street or across town. You don’t have to be skilled at carpentry, have a medical background, or know how to use a commercial-grade oven to help another person. When you use what you’ve got, knowing God’s hand is in it, you can bring light wherever you go.
Recently, I spoke at Aggie Stadium in Albertville, Alabama. About ten thousand people showed up. Most were students from a total of twelve local middle and high schools, plus some parents and others. I learned on the way there that a young girl had overdosed on drugs that weekend. It was a heartbreaking time for the community.
Before the event began, I spent time with a bunch of Night to Shine guests and their families. When I walked into the room, my eyes fell on a girl in a wheelchair. She covered her face and started crying when I gave her a hug. Her tears were contagious. I was so happy to see her, to love on her. I held this precious girl for a solid minute.
Then I met a young man named Gabe. His bright smile lit up the room, and his spirit was even more dynamic. I could just tell he was a fighter. Gabe had no legs and only one arm, but he was determined to live a full life.
It was like this for a while, meeting incredible people who were overcoming challenges most of us can’t even fathom facing. Every hug I received, every smile that beamed my way, every conversation I had pumped me up. I spent way too long in this room, but I only know that because the organizer of the event had to pull me out as I was dreadfully late for my talk.
Now, as fired up as I was, I realized in that moment, I wasn’t totally prepared to speak. Understand this: I’m the type of person who can’t fully prepare a message until I get to the venue. Prior to this, I pray about what I’m going to say and create a rough outline. But in order to fully craft a talk, it’s important that I get a feel for the environment, the pulse of the crowd, their hearts, their stories. These things have a tremendous impact on my message.
I usually have enough time to figure this out. In this particular event, however, everything happened so fast. The minute someone hustled me out of this room to get on stage, I barely had enough time to grab a water on my way out. Then I was rushed straight to the platform to talk. I didn’t even have a few minutes to think while someone was introducing me. It was all a bit disorienting.
Fifteen minutes into my talk, I started getting disappointed with myself. I didn’t think what I was saying was coming across powerfully. My talk was missing something. It was frustrating. I remember staring into the crowd of ten thousand people, seeing some of the same ones with special needs that I had talked to earlier. They weren’t the only ones out there. I saw hundreds of people—young, old, male, female—who had physical disabilities or suffered from serious medical conditions. I wanted so desperately to give them hope in my message, but felt I was failing miserably.
And then, at that fifteen-minute mark, God took over my babble. I felt Him saying, “Timmy, remember why you are here. It’s not about how fancy your words are or how great you sound. It’s about having a heart for these people like I do.” In other words, I had to step aside.
When we think we have power in our words alone, they will fall flat. If God’s power is in us and speaks through us, however, the words we speak will never fail. I ended the talk by giving an invitation to anyone who wanted to trust in Jesus. Hundreds walked over to a small building on the side where many volunteers were waiting to pray with and encourage them.
On the way back home, I wrote this down: I went into this event knowing God but trusting myself instead of knowing myself and trusting God. When I remembered the message wasn’t about me, He took my average ability and my pride and brought so many people to Him. We serve a big God who will use even what stands in our way, whether our faults or our insecurities, and turn it around for His glory. That’s how great He is!
Excerpted from This Is the Day: Reclaim Your Dream. Ignite Your Passion. Live Your Purpose. Copyright © 2018 by Timothy R. Tebow. Used by permission of WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
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