I rode along with a Sheriff’s Deputy the week before last to gain better insight into the area where I am planting the house church community. Disappointment tinged the beginning of the evening as the deputy told me that his area wasn’t all that close to the Valrico area. But I confess my thoughts as the deputy greeted me, were along the lines of “wow, is he really old enough to be doing this?” Alas, I have reached that age where everyone seems a bit young. But he was old enough and brave enough after high school to have served in the Army, including a tour of duty in Iraq. We shared our stories in between his responding to calls. In some calls, I was able to go with him as he talked to folks. Young or not, this deputy’s professionalism, understanding of his position and discernment of human nature revealed exactly why the Sheriff’s Office selected him to do what he does, a calling for certain. But there was something else, a compassion for people’s situations even in the midst of acknowledging how much people bring on themselves by not dealing with their issues when they are small and more manageable. And, of course, a not unexpected bit of cynicism, for as I watched in fascination, it seemed like almost every person we talked to that evening tried to make their situations look better than they were, doing everything from omitting details to outright lying to the deputy. I imagine they were afraid of whether they would get a ticket or be arrested, fears more common than we like to believe. After all, how many of us, while going the posted speed limit, slow down as soon as we see a deputy even though we weren’t doing anything wrong? Most of all, though, I caught glimpses of the courage our deputies must have. At about 2:00 a.m., he made a traffic stop on a lonely road. All the ‘traffic stops gone bad’ videos I’ve ever seen rolled through my mind as he approached that car. To say I was fervently praying is an understatement. Then there was his instruction to me at the beginning of the evening: “If anything happens to me, leave me where I am, get in the car, let them know there’s an emergency and get out of there. What matters is that you get to safety.” His selflessness reminded of the selflessness of an itinerant rabbi about 2,000 years ago. Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). But Jesus, he took it even further as we read in Romans 5:7-8, “Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ Jesus died for us.” Thank you Deputy Seigler, for reminding me that there are those out there such as you who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, even if just for the safety of a middle-aged pastor on a ride along. I’ll be praying for you.