A rookie policeman pulled a speeding biker over and asked to see his license. The biker said, “No license. I had it suspended when I got my fifth DUI.”
The officer then asked to see the owner’s card for the motorcycle. The biker replied, “It’s not my bike. I stole it.”
“This motorcycle is stolen,” queried the officer?
“That’s right. But come to think of it, I saw the owner’s card in the tool bag when I was putting my gun in there,” replied the biker. To which the officer asked, “There’s a gun in the tool bag?”
“Yes, sir. That’s where I put it after I shot and killed the dude who owns this bike and stuffed his dope in the saddlebags.
Officer: “There are drugs in the saddle bags too?!?!?”
Biker: “Yes, sir.”
Hearing this, the rookie immediately called his captain. They were quickly surrounded by police, and the captain approached the biker to handle the tense situation:
• Captain: “Sir, can I see your license?”
• Biker: “Sure. Here it is.” It was valid.
• Captain: “Whose motorcycle is this?”
• Biker: “It’s mine, officer. Here’s the registration.”
• Captain: “Could you slowly open your tool bag so I can see if there’s a gun in it?”
• Biker: “Yes, sir, but there’s no gun in it.” Sure enough, there was nothing in the tool bag.”
• Captain: “Would you mind opening your saddle bags? I was told you said there are drugs in them.”
• Biker: “No problem.” The saddle bags were opened; no drugs.
• Captain: “I don’t understand. The arresting officer said you didn’t have a license, stole this motorcycle, had a gun in the tool bag, and that there were drugs in the saddle bags.”
• Biker: “Yeah, I’ll bet he told you I was speeding, too.”
* * *
There’s an old saw that says there’s nothing like experience. I remember some of the lessons I learned as a rookie pastor. They were things that I sometimes learned the hard way. Most of them are things I’ll never forget.
One Sunday, after celebrating Holy Communion with one of the congregations I served, I was approached by a woman. She politely made the following suggestion: “On days we have communion, please make sure you wash the cologne from your hands before you leave the parsonage.” Apparently, cologne doesn’t taste all that good on communion bread.
“I would rather be in the coffin…”
Another time, I thought it would be a good idea to get more of the laity involved in the worship service. Without any forethought, I called on one of our more active folks to lead us in prayer. She haltingly did so, but not before staring a hole through me. This was prior to my learning that most people fear public speaking more than death itself. Jerry Seinfeld once remarked concerning this phenomenon that most people would rather be in the coffin than delivering the eulogy.
If you’re currently a rookie at anything, please rest assured. You will make a fool of yourself at some point. It’s okay. You’re gaining experience.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]