Sleeping through the Sermon

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September 27, 2014

DD Spring Saturday

Sleeping through the Sermon 
Richard L. Floyd

"A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground three floors below and was picked up dead. But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, ‘Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.'" - Acts 20: 9, 10

Poor Eutychus! He is remembered forever as the guy who fell asleep during the sermon and fell out a window. And it wasn't just any preacher who was preaching, but Paul, who apparently went on too long.

I sympathize more with Eutychus now that I am on the receiving end of sermons. My pastor is a terrific preacher, and usually I stay right with him. But some days the reception is fuzzy on my part. Like Eutychus I might be tired, or preoccupied with my troubles or the troubles of the world.

Sometimes a word or a thought from the sermon will have a mind of its own and take me far away.

The story has a happy ending: Eutychus is brought to life. Was he just brought back to his old life, or was he given new life?

I take comfort in knowing that the worst listener can miss the words of the best preacher, and God can still bring about new life.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me, even when I am not paying attention.

Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and author of A Course In Basic Christianity. He blogs at

Attention New Englanders: Meet Rick Floyd and many of the other Daily Devotional writers at a special reading and conversation event this coming Monday evening at Andover Newton Theological School. Click here for more details.

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