I got pulled over yesterday. I was coming home a different way from work, and instead of pulling onto the freeway (like normal) where the speed limit is 70, I pulled onto the highway where the speed limit is 55…but I was still doing almost 70 (67 to be exact). That’s when I saw him. Like a bird of prey waiting to swoop in on an unsuspecting rodent (traveling illegally at a high rate of speed), he saw me. I saw him and hit the brakes, then drove past him 2 mph under the speed limit, trying to pretend that I never saw him and that I always travel 53 in a 55. It didn’t work. The lights flipped on. So, then I figured I’d just pretend that there must be an emergency up ahead. Surely everyone is going to pull over and let the police officer by, right? Wait, why am I the only one pulling over?! And why isn’t he speeding past me? I finally accepted it. I had been caught.
Here are a few things we can learn…
1) Pastors aren’t perfect. We’re held to a high standard and should be great examples, but sometimes we screw up. If you know me, you know that fact all too well. Sorry folks.
2) Cops can be nice. Although you never want to tempt one and find out, I got a goodie. He let me off with just a warning even though I was 12 over and didn’t even have my most updated insurance card. You’re a good man, Mr. Officer.
3) Always take advantage of the situation. I’ll be teaching about this tomorrow night in Acts 10. Peter never shied away from an opportunity to share the Gospel – even when he was wrong (like in Acts 10). I happened to have some Awaken cards with me right there in the truck, but who wants to come to the speeding pastor’s church? I swallowed my pride and invited him anyway. Here’s how that conversation went:
Officer: I need you to sign at the bottom of this warning, noting that you were speeding but I let you off the hook.
Me: Thank you, sir (I rarely use “Sir,” but I pulled it out for this occasion).
Officer: You don’t need to take any further action besides slowing down.
Me: (ashamedly) Thank you…I know I’m not setting the greatest example, but, in case you’re ever interested, I’m actually a pastor – that’s why I live here. I moved here a few months ago to start a church that’s located on Riverside and Crossland in the Riverside Place shopping center. It’s called Awaken Church. Here’s a card if you’re looking for a church.
Officer: Really? What kind of church is it?
Me: A Bible-teaching (normally, a Bible-obeying – with exception to this instance), community church.
Officer: Wow. That sounds great. You never know – I may just show up.
So who knows, tomorrow at church, I may end up preaching to the Police Officer who pulled me over.
I don’t recommend this as a way to invite people to church. A better way to do it is to invite them while setting a GOOD example. However, take advantage of every situation. After all, do people normally admit they’re Christians when getting pulled over? Much less invite the officer to church! I felt a little weird doing it, but hey, he received it well.