Don’t Remain a Rookie

Don’t Remain a Rookie

July 21, 1997 I stood before Chief Bob Bond, raised my hand, and was sworn in as a Tyler Police Officer. I was 22 years old, had just finished the police academy, and was now officially a police officer. I had spent the last year attending the police academy at night, studying the Texas Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedures, Family Code, Traffic Law, Arrest Search and Seizure, along with physical PT, Defensive Tactics, professional driving and firearms, which I was top of my class. The next day, I donned my uniform, walked into our briefing room with several other officers, and sat at the horseshoe shaped table. Just as the briefing was about to start, one of the old guys who I had never met walked up to me and said, “You are in my seat. Rookies sit at the back, not at the table” as he hurled my clipboard to the back of the room.

The next year, I was considered a rookie and treated as such. Although I thought I knew it all, because of my academy training, I realized that I had a long way to go in being a real cop. Completing the Police Academy was only a small part of it and over the next year of field training, I learned how to be a police officer, thanks to the old guys, one being the guy whose seat I had taken, who taught me how to conduct myself, talk to people, what my purpose was, and to never stop learning. These old guys, even in their hazing, were urging me to strive to learn, be watchful, and never be complacent because that could get you or someone else hurt. It was dangerous and being real about the danger is what kept us and others safe. 

As believers, the same is true. We need to be real about the dangers of this broken world. If we are not real about them we can get complacent and when we do, ourselves or others can suffer because of it. 

The Apostle Paul gives some great advice to the Thessalonian church. He first urges them in the Lord Jesus. To urge is to war against complacency. It is so easy for us to fall into a state of complacency and just kind of tread water with our relationship with Jesus. We can be confident in scripture that Jesus saves us and nothing can change that (Romans 8:1, 39). But we also see in scripture that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). This is what the Bible calls sanctification. It is a growing walk with Jesus. 

Paul also reminds the Thessalonians of their purpose and that is to please God. When I became a police officer, I was constantly reminded of my purpose and that was to serve the community. Those old guys took me under their care and gave me the example of what it meant to serve the people of my community effectively. As believers, we need to be reminded that we are to please God by serving God. To serve God is also to serve others. It means that we look at how Jesus lived and we are to emulate that. Jesus said in John 17 that His purpose was to glorify the Father and we are to follow that example. That is why God not only created us, but is exactly why He has redeemed us through the Gospel. 

Paul also encourages the Thessalonians to walk just as they are but to do it more and more. Throughout my 20 year career as a police officer we had this thing called continued training and education. We were reminded of current laws and taught how to respond to the changing culture. The interesting thing is it was a reminder of what we already knew and the principles never changed. We were just reminded and encouraged of what we knew we were to continue to do to better serve. 

In our Christian walk we also need a similar reminder and encouragement. God’s Word never changes. What He desires for us never really changes either. We are to walk with Jesus all the more. And sometimes we just need the reminder that He has given us all we need to do so. We just need to be reminded and encouraged to keep walking more and more with Jesus for His glory and our good.

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