E is for Eutychus
This week's hero struck me in a different way recently as I read through the book of Acts once again. Eutychus has always been the guy we joked about - the one who fell asleep during the preaching. Unfortunately, his sleepiness happened while he was perched in a window sill, so he ended up falling out of the window sill and dying. Now, that in itself is sad and not funny, but the story doesn't end there. Eutychus just happened to be listening to the Apostle Paul preaching when this happened, so Paul was able to raise him back to life again! The story has a happy ending!
This in and of itself certainly does not qualify Eutychus for 'hero status' but the Lord showed me something really neat about his life, and I would like to share about it here.
First, the verses where the story of Eutychus is found:
Acts 20:7 "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.
9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.
10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.
11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.
12 And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted."
I want to specifically point out verse 12. Once Eutychus was made alive again, and recovered from his tragic fall, the people were comforted. Paul and his traveling companions had just finished a lot of traveling. They were being persecuted and Paul was being hunted down. They were weary, hungry, and worn out.
I am just picturing them feeling like everything was going wrong. They were working so hard to minister to the new believers, and follow Paul's Macedonian call to reach the Gentiles, giving of themselves wholeheartedly, often meeting in the night before moving on to the next location. I know ministers like this. They get worn out. When a person is tired, problems can seem so much bigger than they really are.
The men are holding a meeting, Paul is preaching, and it's late. The next morning they will be leaving once again. As they are altogether at this meeting, a tragic accident happens and a young man dies. I wonder if this was just 'the straw that would break the camel's back' for these weary ministers. How devastated they must have felt! Then God performs a miracle, and renews their spirit, giving them comfort and joy. MUCH comfort. In fact, I would say that Eutychus being raised back to life had to have ranked right up there with one of the greatest things they had ever witnessed on these miles and miles of missionary journeys!
Why was God able to do such a thing? Is it perhaps because a young man was humble and willing to allow God to use him to make a difference? The Bible doesn't say much about Eutychus - in fact, this is the only time he is mentioned in Scripture. We don't know what kind of man he was, or if he had a family, or even if he was a devout or new believer. All we know is that God chose to use him by placing a physically hard health situation in his life. Eutychus did not choose it. He wasn't receiving "judgment from God". It was really just a tragic accident.
All along, God knew that there was a bigger purpose in allowing this hardship to enter the life of Eutychus, and God was going to use the situation for His own glory, and for the comfort and encouragement of others.
To me, this makes Eutychus an unsung hero. I don't know that he had time to be brave and face his trial courageously, especially since it was accidental. But what a story he had to pass on to his grandchildren!
What I do know is that many people are faced with hard situations, tragic circumstances, or health challenges that are not of their own choosing. We must look beyond the tragic and hard situations, and focus on the fact that God has chosen to use us for this time, to be a comfort and help to someone else.
Like Eutychus, we can completely submit ourselves to whatever journey God chooses, and allow God to bless others through us, even if the situation is a difficult one.
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