It happens to the best of them. So, if you’re a preacher, don’t feel too bad about it.
Don’t get all out of sorts over it. People are people, and human beings need sleep!
The difficult aspect for the preacher is that some in the congregation catch up on their rest during the sermon.
Some tend to briefly nod off before collecting themselves. Others appear to reach that deep state of REM. It’s evident when they begin snoring.
Note to the preacher: It’s nothing personal. Most preachers encounter sleepers.
Paul, who was most definitely used by God, encountered the issue – perhaps even more so than most.
His sleeping subject – a young man named Eutychus – actually fell to his death while catching some Zs.
Note to the congregation: Stay alert during the message. It’s important because God has something for you to hear.
Note to preachers: Don’t go past midnight unless God is in it!
God was surely directing Paul that night so many years ago – probably close to 2,000 years back.
Could you imagine hearing Paul preach? It doesn’t say what he was preaching on that night – just that he was long in preaching.
Acts 20:7 puts it this way: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”
First off, how many of us would stay with a preacher until midnight? If God is in it – which He surely was – why wouldn’t we? Paul was, no doubt, preaching what they needed to hear from God.
We need to give God more liberty in our lives! If God wants to do something, let Him do it. We sometimes restrict God when we become steeped in tradition and routines.
We’re ready for lunch or to go home when God wants to take us out of our comfort zone.
Many were likely on the edge of their seats throughout Paul’s message until midnight.
Eutychus’ first problem was that he wasn’t sitting on a seat – he instead chose a window.
Verse 9: “And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus…”
Bad choice. Odd selection. Surely, there were other seats available. In our spiritual walk with God, it is important to be front and center. If we choose to distance ourselves, we won’t be alert spiritually. A spirit of slumber could overtake us.
That’s what happened to Eutychus. Being so far away, he first nodded off. His condition quickly worsened.
Verse 9: “…being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep.”
He went deeper and deeper until he began “sinking down” with sleep.
Remember when Peter walked on water by faith? When the storm came, things changed. Peter took his eyes off Jesus, and he began to sink fast. He quickly asked Jesus for help. Jesus immediately extended a helping hand.
Eutychus was also sinking down – but in sleep. At that point, his choice of location was not conducive with a deep sleep.
He fell down from the third loft and was taken up dead.
Could you imagine the terror of it all if you were there at service? The message was abruptly interrupted when the young man fell from the third loft and died. They perhaps heard the thud. His parents or other relatives were probably there.
Though he fell from the loft, he likely didn’t land on hay. It was a hard surface that killed him. Did he land on his head? Was there a lot of blood? It doesn’t give those details.
But the Bible does state Paul’s concern for the young man.
Verse 10: “And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, ‘Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.’”
The situation woke everybody up – including Eutychus.
Verse 11: “When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.
Verse 12: “And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.”
Sam Kaufman pastors The Church of God at 405 13th Ave. N in Alex City. Contact him at 432 266-0154.