I’ve always liked the story of Eutychus. Remember him? His story is told in Acts 20:7-12. He’s the guy who fell asleep and fell out a 3rd story window while Paul was preaching in Troas. Paul raised him from the dead and that’s all we know about him.
I wonder what his life was like after that night? Being raised from the dead would probably be a life-changing event. But I also wonder if he didn’t have to live with constant reminders, too. “Hey Eutychus, watch out for that window!” “Slept through any good sermons lately?”
There are lessons to be learned from this account. The story is a snapshot of the life of the early church; and I seem to recall sermons that emphasized how the early Christians were so hungry for fellowship and teaching that they could listen to Paul teach until well past midnight. I suppose Eutychus learned not to fall asleep in 3rd story windows, too.
What I get from this story, though, is a little different. Eutychus seems like an ordinary Christian. He wasn’t one of the church leaders, he doesn’t seem to be noted for anything other than falling asleep and falling out a window. He may have been well-liked: Dr. Luke records that “they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.” (ESV)
I think Eutychus wanted to know God, he wanted to learn, and so he was willing to stay up late with all the others in that warm room and listen to Paul teach. But he was an ordinary human and he got warm and sleepy. Maybe Paul’s theology went a little over his head and it was hard to concentrate. Even sitting in the window didn’t help him stay awake.
And here’s why I like this story. Eutychus fell, but that wasn’t the end of it. God gave him back his life. He got another chance.
I’m just an ordinary Christian. I sit in the pew every Sunday and I try to have a regular time with God, but I often fail. I want to know God better, but it’s hard to get up early and sometimes it’s hard to concentrate at night. But God forgives me and gives me another chance. Growing in Christ is a process and I’m not perfect. I’m a lot like Eutychus, who learned firsthand that God’s grace is sufficient.
This is the first of these columns, Notes from the Windowsill, in the monthly newsletter. I’ll just sign them “Eutychus,” so we’ll all remember how much we need to rely on God’s grace.