By Tonya Whitaker, The Pew
Tim Tebow has amazed skeptics and longtime followers during this NFL season. Now, football fans will see what the Broncos quarterback and his teammates have planned for the Steelers, as Denver prepared to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 8 in an AFC Wild Card matchup.
While his on-the-field achievements have drummed support, more than a few stories have surfaced about how Tebow’s Christ-like persona has served as an inspiration to others.
Tebow, who as admitted that his love for Christ came at an early age, has led some to ask how early is too early for children to gain an understanding and, thus, accept Christ in their hearts.
Steve Karges, founder and president of Children’s Ministries International Inc. and coordinator of Global 4/14 Day, said the former Heisman Trophy winner’s route to becoming a believer is an encouraging story for those who will face the issue with children.
The Global 4/14 movement is based on research that supports the theory that during the “window” of age 4 to 14, most children develop their moral and spiritual foundations.
Tebow’s story supports the theory. The quarterback admitted in his 2009 book, “Through My Eyes,” he came to understand God’s presence in 1993, when he was 6 years old.
In 2009, Tebow told an audience of listeners at the University of Florida he developed His importance by attending church, and he heard about Jesus and how He died on the cross for his sins.
“But I had never put my trust in Him, I didn’t know what that meant,” Tebow said.
In an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network in 2010, Tebow said he began to ask questions of his mother and father about Jesus.
“I had been … talking to my mom and dad and I wanted to trust Christ with my life. And I was thinking, ‘you know, if I get in a car wreck (tomorrow) … and I die, I don’t think I’m going to heaven,’ he said.
“And I was scared. And so the next morning I woke up, and I grabbed my mom, and I (kneeled by) the couch and I said, ‘Mom, I want to ask Jesus to come into my heart, and forgive me of my sins, and make me a child of God,’” Tebow said about his moment of accepting Christ. “And from that instant, I knew I went from darkness to Light.”
In 1992, Bryant Myers, former director of World Vision’s MARC Ministries, found 85 percent of people in the United States who make a decision for Christ do so between ages of 4 to14. Based on Myers’ research, Dan Brewster, a missiologist and former program director with Compassion International, coined the phrase “4/14 Window” in 1995.
Karges said there are 2.3 billion children on earth under age 15, and they represent the largest unreached people group in the world.
An international day of prayer and fasting for these children, known as Global 4/14 Day will take place on Saturday, April 14.
With 2012 here, how will Christian parents and churches respond to the boys and girls within their reach who need Christ?
“‘Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.’ This old song is still true today, just ask Tim Tebow,” Karges said.