Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul was holding a discussion with them; since he intended to leave the next day, he continued speaking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were meeting. 9 A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground three floors below and was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 Then Paul went upstairs, and after he had broken bread and eaten, he continued to converse with them until dawn; then he left. 12 Meanwhile they had taken the boy away alive and were not a little comforted.
The power of the understatement occurs at the end of this scene in the ministry of Paul. After Eutychus falls down from a third story window and dies, Paul runs to his side and a miracle occurs as the boy comes back to life. The conclusion is that the people take the boy away alive and they “were not a little comforted” which is a great understatement. However, this statement seems to punctuate a story which gives us great insight about Paul and his ministry.
Paul used every single opportunity that he had to preach Christ and he didn’t want anything to go to waste. Paul was up preaching all night long because he had to catch a boat in the morning. His time was very limited and his heart was so full of Christ that he was simply bursting with desire to tell others about Jesus! Yes, he probably droned on an on and Eutychus couldn’t stay away, but that wasn’t what drove Paul. Love for Christ drove Paul and his desire that others would know all that they could in a very short period of time.
Paul would not allow distractions to keep him from his cause. Even after the incident with Eutychus, Paul went right back to teaching. Whether he was in front of the group or reclining at a table and breaking bread, Paul did not stop. He knew he had to make the most of every minute that he had been given. Ultimately the fall took place for the benefit of Paul, for it literally brought to life the message he was preaching. The people experienced the comfort that Jesus brings as he reaches out and touches the lives of individuals. The understatement is written for the benefit of those present and for us, for because of the incident with Eutychus, the evening would never be forgotten. They were more than “not a little comforted” but they were confronted with the passion of Paul for a Messiah who could bring about transformation.
Just when you think something in life has happened to derail your plans, you discover that God just might be using it for greater purposes. The understatement may be the exclamation point on what God is trying to accomplish and if we get hung up on the incidents, we will miss the real mission.
I am challenged by the way in which Paul lived his life. He remained focused on the goal of Jesus Christ in everything that he did and didn’t allow anything to distract him. His own personal sufferings were never a barrier to knowing and serving Christ. My prayer is that this kind of a passion for the Lord would burn in you and me. That what appear to be distractions in life would not be a frustration but as God-appointed moments to be used as accents on Jesus’ work in and through us. That we would use every single opportunity which comes our way to focus on Jesus.
We may not have a boat to catch in the morning, but our time really is limited. May we live in the joy that God is in the understatements and using them for glory.
Lord, may the “distractions” of this day be transformed by you. Amen.
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