Remember it was Sunday, the day of resurrection. The room was packed. It was Paul’s first contact with the new church family of Troas and most likely his last. He would be off to Jerusalem the next day. I know he had much to share and preached until midnight. Picture the atmosphere. Probably multiple torches in the third story room creating a stuffy atmosphere, Mediterranean heat, and the possibility of the lack of oxygen. My personal opinion was that drowsiness had to be a factor.
A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting on the window sill, drifted off to sleep. He fell headlong onto the pavement like a sack of potatoes and was dead on impact. People began to cry being overcome by the shock of what had happened. Paul reacted immediately and did what those prophets of old like Elijah and Elisha did. He went down, bent over him and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry he said. He’s alive.” (Acts 20:10)
This was not a Sunday any one of them would forget, most of all Eutychus. He fell asleep while the apostle Paul was preaching, unfortunately, sitting in a third story window. And to add insult to injury, Luke was there to record the whole thing. This is the first recorded incident of someone falling asleep in church. Might I add that there have been thousands of successors, but Eutychus is the only one named. Actually, I have great sympathy for Eutychus and many who have trouble staying awake during worship. You see, some have worked long hours, others are on strong medication and several are experiencing sleepless nights struggling with tremendous loss.
The truth is that some of the most committed children of God have fallen asleep during worship. That doesn’t concern me much. What does concern me is that we do not let our personal relationship with Jesus meander aimlessly, but are always pursuing and strengthening our intimacy with Him. “. . . we will hold the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ . . .” (Ephesians 4:15)