“Long Winded Preachers”
BIBLE READING: Acts 20. 4-38, 21, 22, 23.1-35
As a preacher I try to be mindful of how long my lessons last. Of course, there is always going to be a joke about how I preached too long, or about how I put their baby to sleep, and of course my favorite “If a preacher can’t say what he has to say in ten minutes, he ought not to be preaching.” Deep down in my heart of hearts I know that they are just joking, but I also know that there is a little truth to their jabs. I wonder if the Apostles ever got that kind of criticism? I can hear it now “Paul, if you wouldn’t preach so long, we could have beat the pagans to the marketplace for lunch!”. All joking aside, in our reading today we do have an example of a lesson that lasted till midnight. While Paul was preaching, I am confident that Eutychus was doing his best to hear every word. However, at the same time, I am sure he had to get up and go to work the next morning and was tired after a long day. It would have been natural for him to begin to doze off a little here and there. Maybe there were even those that noticed that he was nodding off, but just laughed it off. No one would have ever thought he would be so out of it that he would fall three stories out of the window and die, yet that is exactly what happened. Paul, who must have been startled by the commotion, calms the crowd and goes down stairs and raises him from the dead. You would think that would have been enough for everyone to say “Okay, okay…this sounds like a good place to stop, Paul can pick up where he left off in the morning.” But according to the text, Paul continues right on conversing with them about the good news until daybreak”. Next, time you begin to criticize the preacher for preaching too long, just remember how long Paul preached in Acts 20, and more importantly I don’t have the power to heal you if you fall to your death 😊. Seriously, when we listen to the message of the Gospel, we must do our best to stay as attentive as possible, because that message might just save our souls.