"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 the third story and was picked up dead." - Acts 20:9
So many things can keep us distracted in church. The temperature is too hot or too cold. A child is playing under the pews or in the aisle. An insect is flying about. The cell phone won't stop vibrating and texts and pics won't stop coming.
And the biggest distraction of them all: The preacher is either not interesting or is going on and on for much too long.
The length of Paul's sermon was certainly a contributing factor to the fatigue and the eventual nodding out of young Eutychus. We are not sure exactly when Eutychus zoned out on the preacher, but at some point in the prolonged service, Eutychus fell asleep and fell out of the window down three stories.
What, if anything, Eutychus heard the preacher say in service, we do not know. We do know that when he hit the ground and was thought to be dead, he did receive the message of the Gospel.
He got the message that people of faith are people who care. Paul and the congregants rushed downstairs to attend to Eutychus, in his fallen condition. Their compassion reached him and their prayers restored him.
And even if Eutychus had completely missed the message in church, he got the message when he hit the ground: "Don't be afraid. He's alive. He's not dead."
The messages of God are often not clear when we're supposed to be listening. But when we fall onto the hard places of reality . . . we get the message.
God, open our eyes and hearts to hear your message at all times. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.