So I got pulled over by a Columbia policeman one day last week. As I turned out of the Walgreen parking lot, I was in the process of putting on my seat belt. I stopped at a red light and as soon as I started to move, he turned his lights on so I pulled over. When the officer walked up to the van, he introduced himself and asked if I knew why he had pulled me over.
I responded, "Because I didn't quite have that seat belt all of the way buckled when I pulled out of Walgreen?"
"Actually, you have a brake light out. I didn't notice your seat belt thing." Then almost as an afterthought, "But thank you for being honest. "
It didn't occur to me to be anything but honest and while he ran my license and registration info, I straightened up the front of the van a little bit.
When the officer came back, he was filling out his form (only a warning, thank goodness!) and asked where I worked. I told him Grace Church of the Nazarene and without missing a beat he said, "You guys do a really great Halloween thing over there. I bring my kids every year."
I thanked him for his kind words and for only giving me a warning. He explained that the paperwork would show that he had been doing his job to keep people safe, he didn't want anyone rear-ending me. Then he thanked me again for being honest about the seat belt situation, like that was really amazing or something.
All that to say, he didn't see me putting my seat belt on so if I'd never said a word it wouldn't have mattered and we still would've had our nice little conversation about Family Fall Fun Fest. But hopefully because I was honest, it made an impression on him about me - not as a pastor, or even a member of Grace Church but as a follower of Christ. This isn't about me, but what I'm getting at is: I don't do the things I do, act the way I act or go the places I go (or don't go) because I am a pastor, but because I am a follower of Christ and everywhere I go, whether I realize it or not, people are looking at my life to see Jesus.
That very kind officer was just doing his job that day and I was just doing mine - being a follow of Jesus. Are you doing yours?