Dear Student of the Word,
I am on vacation in Arizona, but I could not resist sneaking in one more update on the Acts study series we started at the beginning of 2011. This week we go with Paul as he travels back through the churches he helped found to encourage the saints. While he is doing so, he found it necessary to speak all night at a meeting and one young man fell out of the window after he fell asleep. This week I wrote in part three of this seven-part study:
Study Twenty-Five, Part Three
9 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. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!" 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.
20:9 – Do you know how to remember the name of the man who fell out of the window while Paul was preaching? “You’d have cussed, too” if you had fallen out of the window! His name was Eutychus. All right, enough with the bad humor. As mentioned yesterday, this young man was at the meeting, but he was tired and fell asleep.
We know that Paul wasn’t a great speaker by his own admission:
I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way (2 Corinthians 11:5).
Yet we know that Jesus was a great speaker because of the insight that He shared with the people:
The large crowd listened to him with delight (Mark 12:37).
Are you using what you have to do God’s work? Are you working to perfect what God has given you so that you can be even more effective? If people are “falling asleep on you,” is it a problem with them or with you and your style? What price are you willing to pay to get better at what you do? What is your plan to do so?
20:10 – Paul wasn’t offended when the young man fell asleep because Paul had no ministry ego. Paul ran down and threw himself on the young man, bringing him back to life! Are you willing as a Christian leader to throw yourself into the problems and weaknesses of those whom you serve? Are you willing to acknowledge that your ministry style and message may not be to everyone’s liking? Can you still love those people and help them as they struggle with their own humanity?
20:11 – A man had just fallen to his death trying to listen to Paul as he went on and on. Paul revivds him and then went right back to resume the meeting. What’s more, Paul spoke until sunrise. Just another day at the office! On one hand, that seems a bit much to put the people through. On the other hand, why shouldn’t we engage in the work to obtain the knowledge of God even if it means losing sleep? Are you willing to lose sleep for the cause of Christ? Are you willing to listen to a speaker who knows Jesus but who isn’t the most dynamic speaker?
20:12 – The people certainly went home greatly comforted. They could finish the meeting with Paul because they didn’t have to go home and prepare a funeral! We are so frail, so weak. Only one small step, one breath separates us from being here or being on the other side of this existence. Are you making the most of every day? It may be your last on earth.
"All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:6-8).
O Lord, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow (Psalm 144:3-4).
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the unpublished volume of The Faith Files.
HELP NEEDED! This week I received a $750 matching grant toward The Big Blessing for Kenya to help feed children like those pictured here. The grant offer expires, however, on December 31 and I have received $50. The grant means for every dollar you give by December 31, you are actually giving two dollars. Don't miss this chance to be a blessing and to double your gift. You can give through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Remember to mark your contribution "Matching Grant" and I will take care of the rest. Thank you and Happy New Year!