The Bible tells of a young man who fell asleep in church. His name was Eutychus which means fortunate one. According to Acts 20:9-12 the young man lived up to his name. Falling asleep during Paul’s lengthy sermon, Eutychus fell out of the third story window where he was sitting and hit the hard pavement below.
Everyone in the upper room, including Paul, rushed down to the street where Eutychus lay perfectly still. Luke records he was “taken up dead.” That means Eutychus was really dead. Being a physician, Luke was able to determine this.
Then Paul did something right out of the Old Testament. As Elisha did for the Shunammite’s recently deceased son (2 Kings 4:34), Paul embraced Eutychus and the young man was restored to life. Returning to the upper room, they continued with the service with Eutychus present, alive and well.
This is the first record we have of anyone sleeping in church. True, three of Jesus’ disciples fell asleep repeatedly in prayer meeting (Mark 14:32-42), but that’s another article for another day.
Like Eutychus, there are many sound asleep in church today. Some are asleep to the opportunities for service and ministry. Like Jonah on the ship bound for Tarshish who slept while those on deck labored to keep the boat afloat, these attend but fail to engage in the work of the church. Others are asleep to the opportunities for friendships that exist in the Body of Christ. We miss out on a lot when we sleep in church.
And then there are those who are asleep to the great truths of God’s Word. As eternal truths are declared from the pulpit, the response of some is nothing more than a stifled yawn.
One preacher noted, “It is easy to sleep away your chance of eternal life. You need not go out and commit some great crime. You need not consult the works of atheists and infidels and adopt their principles of unbelief. All that is necessary to lose eternal life is to sleep.”
Don’t be like Samson who slept when he should have remained alert, only to awake to some very painful consequences. Follow the advice of Paul, “So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded” (1 Thessalonians 5:6).
Remember Eutychus and do not sleep in church.
Pastor Todd Weston