Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow is only 21 years old, but he has already achieved a lot in his career. Tebow led his team to a 24-14 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in the National Championship game on January 9th. In three seasons, he now has two national championships and has already won the Heisman Trophy. The Heisman is an award given annually to the best player in college football. Tebow seemingly has it all on the field, but what about off it? Too often today, young people look up to athletes and other celebrities only to be let down by the way they live their lives. Tebow, however, is a rare exception. He is a devout Christian and spends the majority of his time living his faith. He tries to the best of his ability to answer Christ's call in the Gospel of St. Matthew to feed the hungry, give drink to those who thirst, and to visit the sick and imprisoned.
Tebow's parents founded an orphanage in the Philippines. Tebow was actually born there while his family got it off the ground and lived there until he was three. Annual trips back to the orphanage were the norm, and Tebow's desire to do mission work only increased from there. Between school and football, his schedule is always very full. He spends most of his spare time, including his spring breaks, doing missionary work. In addition to his yearly trips to the Philippines, Tebow has also recently taken trips to Croatia and Thailand. On these trips, he has worked with underprivileged youths and visited hospitals and prisons.
"Doing these things," says Tebow, "taking my platform as a football player and using it for good, using it to be an influence and change people's lives, that's more important than football to me."
Not everyone can do all of the same things that Tim Tebow does, but everyone can do something if they want to. In past issues of Daylight we have spotlighted youth from our Diocese who have taken mission trips of their own. The opportunities to really put your faith into action are available. All you have to do is take them. In addition to mission trips to other countries, there are opportunities to help those less fortunate here in our own towns and communities. You can volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or organize your parish ACRY chapter or youth group to take part in community service. Even within your own parish, there may be an opportunity. Ask your priest if there are any shut-ins who can't come to Church. Perhaps they would like to have a visit from a young person in their parish. Sometimes, the ministry of time spent can be very powerful. God calls each and everyone one of us to use our talents for His glory, we just have to answer the call.