"Watching Your Back"
September 21, 2015
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:4-7
There have been a number of times in my life when I felt uncomfortable with a situation.
During most of those times I couldn't point to, or give the reasons for, my discomfort. Something just didn't feel right. I think most of you would understand. I know Tommi Kelley gets it. A few weeks ago Deputy Kelley was in Houston and was filling up her squad car with gas.
Remembering how, just a few days before, Officer Darren Goforth had been gun downed at a Texas gas pump, gave Kelley a strange, empty feeling in the pit of her stomach. That feeling didn't go away when she realized someone was walking up behind her.
The someone approaching her was 16-year-old McKinley Zoellner.
Although Deputy Kelley didn't know what was going to happen next, she most definitely wasn't prepared for what came out of Zoellner's mouth. He said, "Do you mind if I watch your back?"
Kelley didn't mind. Quietly, the young man stood there and made sure no harm was able to sneak up and blindside the deputy.
When Kelley's car was full, Zoellner simply said, "Have a good day," and then he walked back to his mother's car, so they could continue their route. Kelley didn't let them get away that easily. She stopped Zoellner and heard how he had made his mother turn around, so he could help the deputy feel safe and secure. Then Kelley asked if she could take a selfie with her new friend.
He consented and the photo has gone viral.
Looking back on the incident, Deputy Kelley said, "It meant a lot to me, especially with everything that's been going on lately ... So when you have someone that is so young and mature and thoughtful and came up to help, I was very impressed with him."
Now I'm not going to say Zoellner did everything right, he didn't. He should know it is not wise to come up quietly behind a policeperson. That is especially true when it's night, and they're alone, and it's raining, and strange things have been happening to other policepersons. It's a good way to get hurt.
Even so, I appreciate Zoellner's words: "Can I watch your back?"
We who have been redeemed by God's Son, the world's Savior, have been rescued for a purpose. As part of the family of faith, we should do our best to watch each other's backs. There are a great many hateful individuals out there, and the devil is still walking about as a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
As time and situation offer, we need to reach out to others and say, "Can I watch your back?"
Those of us who are in a difficult situation need to swallow our pride and say, "Would you watch my back for me?"
It is, after all, the least God's people can do for those brothers and sisters whose backs need watching.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, make me sensitive to the needs of others. Help me do what I can to be of assistance and provide protection for them. This I ask in the Name of my Savior, Jesus. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries