Several years ago, a Christian magazine ran a regular column called “Eutychus and His Kin.” The column cited humorous happenings in the life of the church based on the not-so-humorous-at-the-time tragedy that befell a young boy named Eutychus, as recorded in the Book of Acts, chapter 20, verses 7-12.
According to the text, the Sunday service had been extended because the Apostle Paul was leaving the next day to evangelize in another city. Talk about a long service! The text said Paul was still preaching at MIDNIGHT (and you thought your preacher was long-winded!) when sleep apparently overtook young Eutychus, who was sitting in the window listening to the great apostle of the Lord. Eutychus fell three stories to his death but was revived after Paul embraced him. It was Easter time for Eutychus!
Like all scripture, which is given for our edification, I believe that event in the life of Eutychus serves to teach us a few things about our own relationship with God, and especially, our response to His Word. The Bible describes our lives as a long journey. Scripture refers to this as “the path of life” on which we should receive greater light and joy until the end of our lives, or “the light of the full day” (Prov. 4:18).
Unfortunately, to many Christians, this trek becomes routine, predictable and they, like Eutychus — after listening to preaching/teaching for many years — become dull and almost lifeless with regard to their relationship with the Lord. Failing to heed the warnings of scripture, many fall into what we can refer to as “spiritual slumber.” For example, Jesus advised that we should not become like the virgins who were too sleepy to know true their spiritual condition (Matt. 25:1-13). Similarly, the writer of the Book of Hebrews penned that his listeners had “become dull of hearing” (Heb. 5:14). Further, Paul exhorted the church at Thessalonica not to sleep as others do (I Thess. 5:6) but to stay alert spiritually. And last, Jesus warned that people could become like the church at Sardis (Rev. 3:2-3), which he said was already “dead” (in a state of spiritual slumber) and in need of waking up!
Although this doesn’t have to be the case, how many folks do you know who are really excited about their Savior, His Word and the abundant life that He came to bring? Fortunately, the Bible gives us at least four keys to prevent this pitiable state from happening to us: 1) we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and seek the presence of the Lord in prayer regularly, if not daily; 2) we need to understand that our human spirit needs an awakening by the Holy Spirit 3) we need to ask for a fresh revelation of truth from His Word that is applicable to our lives and those around us; 3) we need to be reminded that one day we will give an account of ourselves at the judgment seat of Christ (II Cor. 5:10). This last one can help us maintain a healthy fear of the Lord! If we do these things, we can be assured that we won’t have to count ourselves among Eutychus’ relatives.