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"You Snooze, You Lose"

Someone noted a good sermon helps people in two ways. Some rise from it greatly strengthened, while others wake from it greatly refreshed! Another observed that preachers don't talk in their sleep; they talk in other people's sleep! Who is responsible when someone sleeps through a sermon? One man said, "When people go to sleep in church, someone should wake up the preacher." Every preacher should remember what Bruce W. Thielemann said- "Surely the preacher's greatest sin is to put people to sleep with the greatest story ever told." Richard Baxter wrote words that should stir and awaken the souls of both the preacher and the people in the pews- "I preached as never sure to preach again, And as a dying man to dying men."

Sleeping at church became a deadly activity for a young man named Eutychus in Acts 20:6-12. After falling asleep and falling from the window of a third story room as the apostle Paul preached a lengthy sermon in Troas, he was "taken up dead" (verse 9). We don't know all the reasons why Eutychus took a siesta during the sermon. He may have been a slave who had worked hard all day before coming to church that evening. The sermon was unusually long (until midnight!), and the third story room, no doubt crowded with people desiring to hear the peerless apostle Paul, may have been stuffy and hot. At any rate, his snooze would have cost him his life if Paul had not been present to raise him from the dead!

Without being too harsh on Eutychus, we must remember that spiritually, if you snooze, you lose! Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while men slept his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-25). Peter, James, and John were heavy with sleep while Jesus was transfigured and spoke with Moses and Elijah. Only when they were fully awake did they see His glory (Luke 9:31-33). Some are not fully awake at church on Sunday because they stay up late Saturday night. Some sleep because they are spiritually dull and disinterested. The Holy Spirit sounds a wake-up call to all spiritual sleepers in Ephesians 5:14- "Awake you who sleep... And Christ will give you light". Again in Romans 13:11- "...it is high time to awake out of sleep." God wants you to know- so far as your soul is concerned, if you snooze, you lose!

by Dan Gulley
Smithville Church of Christ