With the death of the Rev. Billy Graham, I believe Tim Tebow will someday become the most influential Christian leader in our country.
Like Graham, Tebow has the incredible charisma to inspire the masses, the impeccable character to avoid scandal and the uncanny political ability to be beloved and respected by both Republicans and Democrats alike. And like Graham, he has the cult of personality to fill football stadiums and counsel presidents.
In fact, I've written this before and I will reiterate it here, I believe Tebow could someday be the president himself. If you don't think that's a legitimate possibility, then you're not paying attention to the political landscape in this country. If a controversial reality TV star can become president, then a unifying sports figure and compassionate Christian can certainly get elected as well.
Even if he doesn't choose to go into politics, I believe Tebow, much like Billy Graham in his later years, has already learned to distance himself from the polarizing political climate and the volatile issues that divide Americans today.
"If I get on these other (political) subjects, it divides the audience on an issue that is not the issue I'm promoting," Graham said in an interview in 2005. "I'm just promoting the Gospel."
After he delivered a sermon at the Real Life Church in Clermont a couple of years ago, I had a chance to talk to Tebow about his philosophy on controversial political issues.
"The goal is to bring people together," Tebow said then. "We're not supposed to divide people. People are going to disagree on things, but we can have unity if our No. 1 priority is we love Jesus and our No. 2 priority is we love people. Let's agree on that and have the 300,000 churches in this country work together. If we did that, nobody would be dying of hunger."
Tebow, much like Graham, is a massive philanthropic figure whose goal in life is to make the world a better place to live.
Tebow's faith has inspired him to build hospitals for the needy in the Philippines, do missionary work to provide food and medical care to Third World countries, preach to prisoners on death row and earlier this month hold his fourth annual "Night to Shine" for 90,000 special-needs kids in 16 countries.
"Night to Shine" is essentially a prom for special needs children around the world in which Tebow's foundation gives them the royal treatment. The kids dress up in fancy tuxes and classy dresses; they arrive in limousines and walk down the red carpet filled with cheering fans and paparazzi. And then they are provided with the memory of a lifetime as they dance the night away,
I asked Tebow once about why "Night to Shine" is his favorite event and he told me this story:
"I got a chance to spend some time with one young lady at one of the proms," he said. "As I was starting to leave, her mom came up to me crying and said, 'My daughter is never going to get married and she's never going to have kids, but tonight she felt like a princess.' That made it all worth it. That's our ultimate goal — to make these kids feel like kings and queens."
Somewhere up there, Billy Graham must be smiling.
As long as Tebow is around, the Reverend has left Christianity in good hands.
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