Paul only had a week in Troas—not long to share everything God had placed on his heart, to encourage all the leaders, and to meet new people with whom he could share the Gospel. The week passed quickly. On Paul’s last night in the city, the church planned a special service where Paul would speak, and they would all share communion.
Paul didn’t just share a thoughtful devotion.
Now I’m from the south, and I’ve heard some long-winded preachers. Very rarely do they truly have that much to say. Did I say “rarely”? In fact, only once, in my experience. Most of the time, they have a good message but lack a good editor.
Everything Paul said was
important and relevant,
but that didn’t matter.
I’m not saying Paul falls into that category. I’m sure everything he said was important and relevant. But still, as someone said, “The mind can only absorb what the behind can endure.”
Paul “kept on talking until midnight” (v.7). The room was packed, and the many lamps (v.8) probably also contributed to a stuffy heat. Eutychus found a good vantage point where he could catch the occasional breeze from outside. Never mind that they were three stories up.
Eutychus got drowsy.
Paul “talked on and on.” Luke’s words (v.9), not mine!
It was hot.
The hour was late.
You know what happened. Eutychus fell asleep, then he fell out the window. The impact killed him.
My mind wandered while our pastor was talking last Sunday. His sermons are less than forty minutes. It’s morning, and the air is well-conditioned. Still, I find it hard to focus. The theater-style seating is padded, and the lights are dim. A guy one row in front of me was almost snoring, head resting in his left hand!
Sometimes, it’s hard to pay attention, even when you know the message is good and relevant. Sometimes, we’re going to fall asleep in the middle of it all. Sometimes, each of us is Eutychus.
But that’s not my point, just a place where we may need to forgive ourselves.
When Paul saw what had happened to Eutychus, there’s no indication that he was insulted. (I would have been.) Paul went down to the young man’s body and wrapped himself around the him. We don’t know the details of what happened next, but God used Paul to bring Eutychus back to life (v.10).
Here’s the part that both amuses and challenges me.
Some people took Eutychus home (v.12), but Paul went back upstairs. The group observed communion, then Paul continued talking until daylight!
He preached all night, breaking only for a resurrection and a snack. Then he left for Assos.
Paul dealt with the issue
then returned to his task.
When something negative happens in our ministries, we tend to think it’s a sign that we’re doing something wrong, like maybe we need to quit. It’s difficult for us to take the event “in stride” and continue the ministry God has given us. Paul, however, dealt with the issue, then returned to his task. He needed to share as much as possible before he left town, and he didn’t let a small thing—like a guy falling out the window (!!)—stop him.
I wish we knew more about Eutychus. Did he become a strong believer, maybe even a church leader? Did he ever sit in a window again?
Paul moved on, first to Assos, then to Ephesus. We can move on, too.
Have you had a difficult issue arise in your ministry? How did you deal with it? Were you able to continue after it was resolved? I’d love to hear how God worked in you through such an event. Leave me a note in the comments below. You can also let me know what you think of this story or what stands out to you in Acts 20.