Don’t know if you saw the story. Click here to read about it at Foxnews.
To me this is an example of zeal without knowledge. The Trooper has evidently been warned, even in writing, that he’s to stop handing out gospel tracts and to stop questioning people about their faith. He has been doing this during his routine traffic stops.
This to me is a no-brainer.
The guy works for the State of Indiana. He’s being paid to uphold the law and to deal with lawbreakers. He’s not being paid to evangelize while on Indiana’s dime. His response is that God told him to and that he has to obey God and not man.
While I encourage everyone to humbly obey what God is clearly telling them to do, I also reserve the right to decide for myself if what you say God is telling you to do…is really from God!
So here’s how I size this one up.
The Bible tells servants (slaves) to work and behave in such a way that they give no offense to their employers:
Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.(Titus 2:9-10)
In other words, be the best employee you can be so that when people see your work and the way you treat people, they will want to know what makes you different. They will be attracted to your faith. But if you do your church work while on the State’s dime, well, you’re stealing from the State. Yep. Plain and simple.
By the way, some people have wrongly read into the Bible passage above a “pro slavery” message. This is far from the truth. The Apostle is not pro-slavery. Rather, he is pro-Jesus and pro-wisdom! He wants us to know that regardless of the situation regarding the kind of work you have to do, there is a way to do it that really makes the Jesus you love look good. Living and working in such a way that people are attracted to Jesus is much more important than your own personal “rights”.
If the Indiana trooper tries to sue the state over this situation, I feel he is truly offending the spirit of this biblical passage. He is doing the exact opposite of what the Bible says.
Years ago while working for the State of Texas I was convicted by the Holy Spirit that I was using State time to do personal faith business. I wasn’t being paid to call people up and initiate ministry on the phone while I was on the clock. Nor was I called to proselyte the people I was working with while I was on the clock. I repented and asked God’s forgiveness. And I found appropriate ways to share my faith while I was “off the clock.”
This didn’t mean that I became a “closet” Christian, though. I felt that if I was on my coffee break in the morning, that those 15 minutes were “free time”. Chatting with coworkers about our personal or private lives (including church and faith) was something everybody did. And of course my lunchtime was my own time as well. I could also do this after work during social times of hanging out with clients or coworkers. There were plenty of creative ways to let my light shine without infringing on my work hours.
But sometimes a client or coworker directly initiated a spiritual conversation or asked me personal questions about my faith during work hours. In those cases I felt the freedom to briefly respond, without going into lengthy answers. I often would then invite them to coffee or to lunch so that we could “follow up” on our conversation at a more “appropriate” time.
By God’s grace, I led several people to Christ during those years. And received awards for being an outstanding employee as well.
Friends, the culture has changed. This is NOT a culture that deeply shares your Christian values anymore. So get over it. Daniel in Babylon is our example now. Daniel was a model employee of the state. But he didn’t expect the king to allow him to preach his faith on the government’s dime. He did however continue to practice his faith in appropriate times and places. And yes it ended up getting him in trouble anyway. But it worked out to be a great example of humility and patience and of God’s deliverance. The whole nation ended up hearing about it. And now in the 21st century we are still talking about Daniel’s faith. But it wasn’t because he took advantage of his position of authority over people.
And that is what the Indiana trooper was doing: pulling people over in their cars, in the name of the law, and then making them endure his religious questions and preaching.
Don’t do that.