We all know the unofficial motto/reputation of the Post Office: we deliver your mail through rain, sleet, snow and ice; we deliver through hurricanes, earthquakes, and vicious dogs growling.
Similarly, for Ministers, we deliver our sermons through all kinds of distractions. We will not be slowed down by bats, cats, heat, cold, crying, coughing, snoring, eating. We will not be distracted by knitting, fighting, sneezing, laughing, and yes, even gas leaks!
I have seen it all through 30+ years of preaching, survived it all, and conquered it all! But never have I had an Acts 20:7-12 incident! (You can read about the Apostle Paul & Eutychus here).
Yes I have preached late at night. Yes I have preached by lamp light and candle light. Yes I have preached in a crowded room. And, yes, I have preached very long sermons. I have had people escape out windows but never fall out windows to their death! And I have not hugged someone and brought them back to life, not physically anyway. But I have seen the spiritually dead breathe new life! Ephesians 5:14 “Wake up from your sleep. Climb out of your coffins, Christ will show you the light. The Message)
Some sermons may put you to sleep & some sermons may wake you up! Sermons, by divine design, are to wake people not kill people!
I know the tragic fall and the amazing resurrection miracle ‘steal the show’ in this story, but here is another not so obvious lesson I learn from the story: Paul is not distracted from his purpose. He is there to make the most of a short 7 day stay in Troas. He has so much to teach & tell. He rushes downstairs, does the miracle CPR, then has a snack, and gets back to work. A preacher who notices the need, addresses it quickly, and then returns to task.
Paul would write to Timothy: “Devote yourself to preaching and to teaching. do not neglect your gift … be diligent in these matters … persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers“. (1 Timothy 4:11-16) Paul knew these things to be true.
Some will argue, and rightfully so, that I take a preacher’s point of view on this passage. What about the poor unfortunate audience, enduring such a lengthy presentation? And without the high-tech of video and power point! But here is my point: these people knew that God’s word spoken through Paul’s words brought hope and life. It was spiritual food they sought, and spiritual life they got. We are told in verse 12 that the people left “greatly comforted”.
Wherever you attend church, whoever is your preacher/teacher, watch not the watch but rather watch for God’s encouragement.