Take a Break (Guest Post)
Today’s Post Take a Break is a Guest Post by my friend Nic, this is his second guest post on SecondIron, where he talks about our need to take a break and getting much-needed rest. Nic is a geek dad, a professional nerd, and a pop culture junkie. He is drawn to any conversation about music, movies, theater, architecture, comics, and theology. You can follow his thoughts about parenthood, corporate life, and the intersection between faith and pop culture at his blog, The Faithful Geek. You can also find him on Twitter and Instagram. Enjoy his guest post Take a Break.
Growing up in church with weekly Sunday school lessons, you grow accustomed to Bible stories. They become familiar enough that even people with little to no religious affiliation know how the stories play out. Noah’s ark, Moses and the exodus, David versus Goliath, the birth of Jesus, the crucifixion and resurrection. If your background is similar to mine, you can probably tell these stories without reading directly from scripture.
Unfortunately, my favorite Bible story was not one I learned in Sunday school. It is not typically told by children’s workers or youth pastors. In fact, it is a story buried toward the end of Acts that most pastors skip over when teaching about the early church. I cannot remember hearing a single sermon referencing this passage. In case you missed it, I would like to share it with you.
Acts 20 summarizes Paul’s travels through Macedonia and Greece after a riot in Ephesus. He caught up with his entourage for a week-long stay in the city of Troas where the story begins. The first day that Paul was in Troas, he began preaching in the third story room of a local resident. He talked marathon style like a US Senator in the middle of a filibuster speech. A teenager in attendance (what the scripture describes as a young man) perched in a window to listen to Paul’s message.
Why the window? With a room full of people, the evening breeze probably provided relief from the humidity and heat of a sweaty crowd. It could have also given the divided attention of a youth the best of both worlds: spiritual teaching inside and allure of the world passing by outside. He made himself comfortable but he was not prepared for the apostle’s long winded sermon.
Paul talked all day and when night fell, he kept going. The hosts lit lamps so that people could see and Paul continued to talk into the twilight hours. Around midnight, Eutychus (the kid sitting in the window) grew drowsy. In the movie playing in my mind when I read this passage, I can see him bobbing his head the way you do when you want to stay awake but your body has other plans. Eventually the lure of sleep was too strong for Eutychus and he sunk into a deep sleep. Like most people who doze off while sitting, he slumped to the side as his relaxed muscles yielded to gravity’s pull. Unfortunately, he leaned the wrong direction and plummeted from the window – down three stories to the earth below.
The fall resulted in what anyone could predict. Eutychus became the first person to die from falling asleep in church. Paul did not accept the death; he went downstairs and sprawled out on top of the kid. Paul stood and said, “Nothing to worry about, he’s alive.” Then he went back to the upper room and continued preaching as if nothing had happened. Paul talked until dawn and when everyone went home, Eutychus went with them. Alive, but most likely shaken.
If there is a lesson to learn in this story, it is that Eutychus probably did not get enough sleep.
I can relate.
If we are all being honest, most of us would admit some measure of sleep deprivation. According to a Gallup poll, 40% of us do not sleep as much as doctors recommend. That is a trend that has been growing for the past sixty-five years.
Here is the secret I have learned from Acts 20. It is OK to take a break. Eutychus took a break from Paul’s sermon and slept. Then he took a break from living. He was dead then he was alive. Paul took a break from preaching to attend to the crisis of the kid’s fatal fall. Everyone in this story took a break from their daily lives to hear Paul preach and returned home when the morning came.
We all need rest. There is an abundance of studies to demonstrate the positive health and emotional benefits we get from resting our minds, bodies, and souls. So take a guilt-free break. The world will still be here when you finish resting.
It could be a break to take a nap or watch a movie. It could be a break for a social engagement. It could be a break for a vacation (or perhaps a vacation from your vacation). It could be a break to work on another project outside your normal duties. It could be a break to follow the commandment to honor the Sabbath.
So relax. Indulge in rest. Not only is it something that God wants us to do, it’s good for your heart.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.