Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Not the Sharpest Knife in the Drawer

Tim Tebow is taking hits again. This time, it’s in the area of his intellectual capacity. As part of his processing during the NFL Rookie evaluation gauntlet, Tebow, like all NFL prospects, was required to take a “mini SAT” of sorts called the Wonderlic Test. Wikipedia defines the test as, “twelve-minute, fifty-question test used to assess the aptitude of prospective employees for learning and problem-solving”. The object of the test is to get as many correct answers as possible within the time allotted, with one point given for each correct answer. The average score for professional football players is 20 and indicates average intelligence. Only one player in NFL history has scored a perfect 50 with the 2nd highest score being 48 and both of them were Harvard graduates. Tebow scored a 22, just above average, but many media outlets have heralded the score as an indication that he is at least one brick shy of a load. In case you’re wondering, some other NFL quarterback Wonderlic scores are: Dan Marino – 15, Vince Young – 15, Donovan McNabb – 14 Tom Brady – 33, Eli Manning – 39, and Brett Farve – 22. Had it not been for a willingness to do a quick search on the nature and parameters of the test, I might have been reduced to thinking that Tim Tebow was a great guy, possessing a great arm, a strong back and yet a very weak mind. Even a little research clearly shows that this is not the case. Tebow is a fine young man of normal intelligence and extraordinary character gifted with tremendous physical ability. My new perspective made me consider how it must feel being characterized as “dumber than the average bear”? It is actually an experience with which I can somewhat relate.

In my college days, I had my share of less than stellar academic moments where my greatest efforts to “Dazzle ‘em with brilliance” resulted in lack-luster performances that left others baffled with my dullness. In those moments I always had to make a decision; Would I see myself as a stunt double for the stars of “Dumb and Dumber” or would I use other measures to evaluate what I had to offer the world? I imagine Tim Tebow could be asking himself the same question and that he might derive his answer from the same source from which I derived mine – The Bible. The book of Colossians has comprehensive instruction regarding how we are to use the gifts, abilities and talents we possess:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (Colossians 3:23-24).

One of my seminary professors warned of the dangers of seeking the applause of people and living in fear of failure in pursuing our calling. He wisely shared that, “People tend to be fickle and their view of what you do and how well you do it may or may not be based in reality. If you have done your best before the Lord – your absolute best with all your heart according to your abilities - it may not meet the standards or approval of people, but for God, your best is good enough. Remember, you will ultimately be evaluated by Him.”

Let me be clear that I am not championing mediocrity or sub-standard performance. I’m simply acknowledging that there are times when our best efforts fall short of our desired goals. When that happens, we cannot allow our failures to become defined by others who are observing us or allow their dim view of our poor performance to limit us in our overall ability to overcome our disappointments and to contribute meaningfully to whatever the Lord has called us to do. In Philippians 3, the Apostle Paul challenges us in this way:
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but in the Lord’s hands, at my best, I’m sharp enough to be of use to Him anywhere and anyhow He desires to use me – and so is Tim Tebow and so are you! Until Next Time…



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