“On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘He’s alive!’ Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted” (Acts 20:7-12, NIV).
In Acts Chapter 20, Luke tells the story of a kid named Eutychus who falls asleep and plummets from a third story window to his death after “listening” to the Apostle Paul preach. Eutychus’ name is easily remembered by using this catchy device: “You’d a cussed (Eutychus), too, if you had fallen out of a third story window!” Joking aside, this story teaches us an important lesson.
The text states that Paul, planning to leave town the next day, has continued talking until midnight on this particular evening. Luke’s description of the many lamps in the room and the statement that “…Paul talked on and on…” (Acts 20:9, NIV) further convey the length of this sleep-inducing message. It’s all too much for the drowsy Eutychus who falls to sleep and then falls to his death.
Although this strange little story has a happy ending, – Paul brings Eutychus back to life – I think it is quite telling of our human condition. Imagine Paul, speaking words of life, being interrupted by this crazy youth who falls out of a window, all because he can’t stay awake long enough to hear the conclusion of Paul’s message.
Before I’m too hard on Ol’ Eutychus, though, I must think about all the times that I, too, have “fallen asleep” to God’s Word. So often my mind wanders even at the wondrous Word of God. I check my watch, fidget with my cell phone, doodle, daydream, and doze while I am in the very presence of the Word being shared.
How about you? Do you find yourself propped up in that third story window with Eutychus trying to stay awake, trying not to fall? Reply to this post with your answer if you’d like.