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[Ezra] . . . from early morning until noon read aloud to everyone who could understand. All the people listened closely to the Book of the Law (Nehemiah 8:3).
I must admit I was having a hard time staying awake. The guest speaker had been monotonously droning on for 45 minutes. According to the outline provided, he wasn’t even halfway through the sermon! “It isn’t my fault if I fall asleep,” I whispered to my wife. “Don’t be a Eutychus!” she replied, even as she poked me with her pen to keep me awake.
Let’s take a look at that famous sleeper’s story: The church in Troas had gathered for worship one Sunday. It was jam-packed. And since Paul “was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight” (Acts 20:7).
With heavy theological teaching flowing from Paul, a crowded house “with many flickering lamps” (v.8), and fresh air in short supply, drowsiness soon overcame one young man. Poor Eutychus fell sound asleep while the apostle Paul taught (v.9). This was clearly a no-no. And Luke was there to record his misdeed. How embarrassing! But even though Eutychus was the first person to be recorded dozing off during a sermon, you and I can be numbered among his successors today.
Personally, I think Eutychus has been misrepresented. He obviously wanted to hear more about God. That’s why he was still in the house listening to Paul at midnight. Even though the house was overcrowded, Eutychus found a place to sit—on the third-story windowsill. Not exactly the safest place to perch. But that shows how much he wanted to take in Paul’s words. So this story shouldn’t be entirely bad press for Eutychus.
We can learn from this young man. We need to be a Eutychus. No, not falling asleep during a sermon, but having an eager desire and undeterred resolve to hear God’s Word—even if it means having to sit uncomfortably on a third-story windowsill for hours!
Pray for your pastor as he prepares and preaches God’s Word each week. Pray that you will listen attentively to the sermon. How else can you prepare yourself to listen to God’s Word?
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