He Died in the Service

You’ve heard the joke… a boy sees a plaque in the foyer of the church honoring “those who died in the service.” While shaking the hand of the pastor at the end of the worship service, the little boy asks, “were they in the 8:30 or the 11:00 service?” I don’t know too many stories about people dying in church, but the Bible records one such story when Paul turns into a long-winded preacher in a place called Troas (Acts 20:7-9).

Paul left Ephesus and traveled through Macedonia and into Greece, where he stayed three months (Acts 20:1, 2, 3). Under more persecution, the small group (Acts 20:4) caught up with Luke at Troas (Acts 20:5, 6).

Luke was a man short on elaboration when it came to details, but as Paul preached on and on past midnight, a boy name Eutychus fell asleep sitting on a third floor window sill, fell out and “was picked up dead” (Acts 20:9). It appears that Paul’s enthusiasm exceeded the stamina of his audience.

As one with a spiritual gift of teaching, I understand the dilemma, wanting to pass on everything that I learn to others. I often wonder about my writing too much on this blog, but then justify the length at times for a few reasons:

  1. People will read only what they choose to read.
  2. If people want to know more they have it available right now.
  3. If people choose not to read it, I still have it on my blog as an electronic filing cabinet for my future reference!

I can imagine some of you reading this getting a kick out of Acts 20:9 where Luke mentions, “Paul kept talking on and on.” Perhaps you are thinking the same about me, going on and on, but I hope what I share with you is worth your time!

Back to the story. Had this boy not fallen asleep and out the window, Paul would not have had the opportunity to raise the dead. The message went on and on, the room was so crowded they had to sit people in the window to hear. The lamps and bodies made the room warm. Most of the listeners had risen at dawn that morning, so it was a very long day. I imagine the boy (and others) had to prop their eyelids open.

Perhaps a dream caused the boy to twitch and he fell out the window. It would not be such a funny story if it were not for the happy ending, Paul runs down and declares the boy is alive (Acts 20:10). Another humorous part for me is that after he raises the boy, Paul goes back upstairs and continues talking until morning (Acts 20:11).

The moral of this story, don’t sit too close to a window as you read my lessons… did I make this one a little shorter?