KILROY WAS HERE
by Charles Robey
(Trussville AL USA)
Who Is This Man?
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile".(Romans 1:16)
Do you remember this famous cartoon, that appeared almost everywhere, back during our countries war days? Well, I must admit that I do remember. As a young lad, I even carved my version on the school desk top, of which I am not proud now (1 Cor 13:11).
"Kilroy was here" was an American popular culture expression that became popular during World War II; as a typically seen graffiti. Its origins are debated, but the phrase and the distinctive accompanying many a doodle, depicting a bald-headed man (sometimes depicted as having a few hairs) with a prominent nose peeking over a wall with the fingers of each hand clutching the wall, This famous cartoon utterly became associated with GIs in the 1940s.
How does Kilroy's mysterious cartoon relate to our Christian experience? In a nut shell, he got his message out. Legend has it that a man named James Kilroy, an American shipyard inspector, would mark the ships themselves as they were being built. So at a later date, the phrase would be found chalked in places that no graffiti-artist could have reached (inside sealed hull spaces, for example), which then fed the mythical significance of the phrase. After all, if Kilroy could leave his mark there, who knew where else he could go.
So, how wonderful would it be for us Christians to leave our mark? Maybe by just leaving a simple gospel track where it would be noticed. Or maybe jotting down a simple gospel scripture verse or message, when sending a note to a friend. In other words, just bravely showing our witness for Christ boldly outside of the hallow walls of our church sanctuary (Acts 1:8).
I realize this testimonial comparison may be a play on words, or a pun or other humorous use of our language. Why not use any tool available to get God's message across to a lost and dying world (Proverbs 11:30)?
Maybe you’ve bumped into Kilroy. He’s a bald (or balding) gentleman with a big nose, drawn peeking over a wall. Next to him is usually the phrase “Kilroy was here.” He can be found all over the world, and went viral long before social media or the Internet were around, finding his way through the theaters of war with American troops during World War II.
One of his most daring appearances may have been at the Potsdam Conference in 1945. During the summit, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin had exclusive use of a VIP bathroom. One day, Stalin reportedly used the facilities, and came out demanding to know from one of his aides who Kilroy was, having found the drawing on one of the walls.
Did "Kilroy" ever get your attention and start your mind to wonder? He did get his message out, ever so crudely. Conversely, maybe you have become a believer in "Jesus Christ" as a result of a tract conspicuously left in a public place for the taking. Or, maybe a friend happened to jot down a scripture verse, in that nice love note (Hebrews 4:12).. Whatever the means was, that got your attention to the gospel, was it not worth it? Now go and do likewise (1Peter 3:15). Let your gospel witness become as popular as Mr. Kilroy (Colossians 4:6).
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven". (Matthew 5:16)