Boring Sermon Causes Boy to Jump to His Death

(Originally posted on March 30, 2012)

Not really. He fell. But he was still dead. But not for long, because Paul revived him. Just to drag his aching body back upstairs to listen for hours more!  You think I’m kidding? Here’s what happened: Acts: 20:7-12, We met on Sunday to worship and celebrate the Master’s Supper. Paul addressed the congregation. Our plan was to leave first thing in the morning, but Paul talked on, way past midnight….A young man named Eutychus was sitting in an open window. As Paul went on and on, Eutychus fell sound asleep and toppled out the third-story window. When they picked him up, he was dead. Paul went down, fell on him (Resuscitation methods certainly have evolved haven’t they?) and hugged him hard. “No more crying,” he said. “There’s life in him yet.” Then Paul… went on telling stories of the faith until dawn!”

Take a hint Paul!

So, some preaches should not be preaching…

Paul certainly had his gifts, but droning on and on may not have been his crowning achievement.

Some teachers should not be teaching…

Matthew 23:13 (NIV), “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”

Some prophets maybe should not have been prophesying; at least not naked…

Isaiah 20:3, “And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia…”

On the other hand, some who have been gifted fail to say “yes” to their calling.

Ladies, I am talking to you in particular!

And there is no better time than now as we approach Jesus’ final hours to discuss this topic.

You know how this goes. Jesus has been walking with, and teaching, his disciples for three years. They were a motley crew of doubters, nay-sayers and power grabbers; often blind fools who could not see beyond their cultural biases.

And the women? They too understood very well their customs and traditions. They were inferior to men, under the rule of their father’s or husband’s, and had no authority in any area of their lives. Women were not allowed in the Temple to worship, and talking to strangers was forbidden. The slightest infraction of these laws often resulted in their being stoned to death.

Then along came Jesus. Glory be! He loved them, talked to them, and raised them to a new status. Though it may be a bit difficult to believe because they are rarely named, Jesus had many female disciples. Shoot, who stuck around when Jesus was led to his trial? The men? NO! They ran scared. It was the women who stayed with him from the moment he touched their lives until his resurrection.

The men ran off in fear because this was not what they had envisioned. They were certain Jesus came as an earthly king and they would share in his power. When it was clear things were going badly they hid behind locked doors to save their own sorry butts.

Not so the women. Ah, you gotta love those women! Jesus had so empowered them that there was nothing that would keep them away from his side. It’s as if they were saying to all those who participated in Jesus’ crucifixion, “Go ahead, make my day! Crucify me too!I’m not afraid of you anymore!”

Now listen. Who did Jesus first appear to after his resurrection? The disciples?  No! Okay, probably no. Most scripture scholars believe it was Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary.” Some scriptures say he did not appear to Mary first, but to Cleopas or the disciples, but it is important to remember too that some scripture writers were concerned about cultural norms which could have influenced their writing. So, I’m sticking with Mary on this one, because at the end of the day, that isn’t what’s important anyway.

What is important is what we take away from Jesus’ love for, and treatment of, women; the worth and value he placed on them. Remember, for men in those days it was all about power. The idea of serving others was foreign to them; it was not their responsibility. Not so with women. Women are innately gifted for service and nurturing; for compassion and putting others first. That was the connection they had with Jesus. For the first time in their lives a man valued and related to their giftedness.

I am reasonably sure you are not going to feel you have anything to offer until you believe how deeply God loves you; how he longs to forgive the sins you cling to as proof that you are not worthy of that love. That was the reality for me. Life had convinced me that I was a terrible mistake. I deduced that he wasn’t there when I was being abused because he didn’t care, and he undoubtedly hated me for my own sinfulness. But then something happened that changed my life. It was a pivotal moment that I talk about in my book. That moment when God said, “Linda, I was there when you were being abused, suffering right along with you, and I was there every time you sinned. But if you will turn to me and seek my forgiveness and mercy, your life will be restored. Your true self – the person I created with a purpose – will emerge and thrive! Just trust me.

God has called each of us to use our gifts for his glory; to make our little corner of the world a better place; to let his light shine on our suffering brothers and sisters. I don’t know what gifts God has given you. But if they are teaching, preaching or prophesying, just don’t be boring, and don’t do it naked…PLEASE!