Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sound Asleep in the Pew

Thursday, June 16, 2016

But don’t just listen to God’s word.  You must do what it says.  Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.    James 1:22(NLT)

James knew what he was talking about.  As the brother of Jesus he was well-acquainted with hearing the Lord speak, and then ignoring what he’d heard.  Indeed, when Jesus’ teaching got a little too intense, Jesus’ whole family thought he’d had a nervous breakdown.  They tried to get him to dial-back his extreme views and calm down.

Can you imagine telling God to calm down?

But that’s exactly what it is when we read a Scripture, hear it resonate in our hearts, feel the fear of being too religious or zealous, and then choose a better way

If you recall, Scripture tells us (Acts 20) that while Paul was preaching to a group late at night, a young man named Eutychus was sitting in a window seat on the third floor.  He became drowsy during the sermon and fell three stories to his death.  That, certainly, is one kind of peril of ignoring God’s Word!  Fortunate for that young man, Paul prayed and God revived him.

I’ve had my own Eutychus moments over the years.  Our church had theatre seating; the individual seats had soft bottoms and solid oak back-rests.  One middle-aged man had a habit of getting a little too comfortable once the up-and-down of the service stopped.  Once the choir had finished singing and dispersed into the congregation, he was already in dreamland.  Usually by the time I’d read the Scripture for the sermon he and I were in strong competition for who would preach the louder sermon that day.  Our congregation got so used to him that we just about tuned-out his rumblings completely. 

One time after service he was still sleeping when the custodian shut down the building; he awoke suddenly (probably disturbed by his own snoring) and got frightened by the quiet.  The doors to the sanctuary had dead-bolt locks, and could only be unlocked with a key.  In his panic, the man actually broke a window pane in one of the doors trying to get out.  Someone heard the shattered glass, and the need for a raising from the dead prayer, like Eutychus, was averted!

If you read the letters to the churches in Revelation (Chapters 2-3) you will find that the Jesus handed out strong warnings to 6 of the 7 churches; most of their problem was being asleep while evil was claiming their strength of holy living.

Some of those churches are still asleep in the window.

For You Today

Whether your preacher is the next Billy Graham, or as dry as the Arabian Desert, the Word of God is going to show up in some aspect of your worship this week.  It would be a good thing to listen closely for God’s heart – as James urged all of us – not just listening, but doing what you hear.

Don’t fool yourself; don’t be a Eutychus!

You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…have a blessed day!

[1] Title Image: By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

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