Main Point: Help students see the value of having and leaving a legacy in life.
Discussion Starter: The Statue of Tim Tebow
Read the following article from It’s Like This.
- Tim Tebow is as famous for his Christian faith as he is his abilities on a football field. The quarterback attended the University of Florida, and during his time there, led his team to two national championship titles, and captured the highest award for athleticism, the coveted Heisman Trophy.
But when the University of Florida erected a life-sized statue of their star quarterback, the “numbers” they included on his image had nothing to do with passes completed, yards rushed, or touchdowns scored.
Nope. The numbers that stand out actually reference a chapter and verse in the Bible.
On April 9, 2011, the University of Florida revealed a life-sized statue of Tim Tebow just outside the walls of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium where he played football for 4 years of his life. In addition to the intricate details of his posture, hands, helmet, and uniform, the statue also included the quarterback’s famous biblical reference of “John 3:16” written into his eye black on his face – the black lines painted underneath a player’s eyes.
In every game, Tebow painted eye black on his cheeks, and then painstakingly painted Scripture references on top of it in bright white. Knowing that millions of people in a national viewing audience would get a close up of his face during the 2009 National Championship game against the Oklahoma Sooners – which the Gators won – Tebow painted “John” underneath his right eye and “3:16” underneath his left eye. During that game – and after – Google reported that “John 3:16” became the search engine’s top query.
The statue’s designers, Sandy and Peggy Proctor of Tallahassee, said Tebow personally picked the Scripture reference for the statue. The young Christian simply doesn’t want people to look at him – or images of him – and not think about Jesus.
Of course, the freshly-revealed statue brazenly depicting a biblical reference didn’t go unchallenged. The ACLU was contacted and members of the University Athletic Association discussed whether a Bible verse should be included in the statue. Chip Howard, senior associate in the Athletic Director’s office said the Scripture verse would be the most realistic way of portraying Tebow. “It really was part of his uniform,” said Howard.
Wow! What if that could be said of you and me??? What if others said, “The Word of God was just a part of who he was,” or, “She made no bones about declaring God’s Word with her life”?
Tim Tebow has cemented his legacy for generations to come. Will you?
It’s cool to think that Tim Tebow is as famous for being a Christian as he is for his football skills. Because he was so dedicated to God during his college years, now, thousands upon thousands of people will literally walk past the statue and be reminded of the legacy of faith he left at the school. Pretty amazing, huh? Tebow left a legacy, not just on people’s lives, not just in highlight reels, not just on the history books. He left a legacy that was literally immortalized in stone that many will see and think of God. But that’s not the first time someone used stone to reveal a legacy that pointed to God.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our faith and our favorite football team, college or professional.
- ASK A FEW: Did you know that Tim Tebow was a Christian? If so, were you aware of how outspoken he was about Jesus?
- ASK A FEW: For those of you who know about Tebow, do you think this is a good representation of his legacy? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: What do you think people will think of when they walk past his statue outside the football field?
- ASK A FEW: What is legacy?
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: If someone were to cast a statue of you right now, what would your legacy be?
Read the following passage:
Joshua 4:4-9 and 19-24
So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.
On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”
NOTE: Read verse 24 again:
“. . . He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”
So, tonight we looked at the legacy of a Christian football player. We now know that his legacy, left in stone outside the football stadium he played at for 4 years, will point people to God for years to come. I can’t help but think of that as a challenge to us, today.
Then we read the story of Joshua and the Israelites. When they crossed over the Jordan River on dry ground, a huge miracle in and of itself, God told them to mark the place with 12 stones so they would never forget what He did for them in that place. God wanted them to remember that moment and His goodness toward them.
Look at your legacy for a moment. If it were written in stone tonight, what would it say? Does it glorify God? Does it point others to Him? If not, ask yourself if there is anything you can change to make it so.
Optional: My Legacy
Pass out My Legacy sheets and pens/pencils. These are simply half sheets of paper that have two unfinished sentences on them. The first one reads: I want my legacy…. The second one reads: So I need to….
Instruct them to pray silently by themselves, and then take a few minutes to write down what they want their legacy to be by completing the statements on the piece of paper. (Leaders: Play a worship CD quietly in the background. Once everyone’s written out their thoughts, resume your wrap up.)
Granted, your legacy may never be immortalized on a life-sized statue of you, but each of us has a legacy. It either points to God, or it doesn’t. It either brings glory to Him, or it doesn’t. Just in case a statue is made of us, let’s make sure that our legacy points the nations of the earth to the God who loves them.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.