Sunday, October 03, 2010

How Many Second Chances Do You Need?

It was a warm Mediterranean night. The cool breeze off the Aegean Sea couldn't offset the lack of windows in the third floor. The young man in the window was hogging all the fresh air. The lamps and candles in the dark room added to the stuffiness and smell of an overcrowded room. As the hours ticked by, the drowsiness settled heavier and heavier on the guy in the window. He fell asleep. He slipped out of the window, fell to the ground, and there Eutychus died. Did I mention that his name means lucky? :)

The crowd rushed one at a time down the stairs, screaming and wailing amidst general confusion. Someone picked up Eutychus limp body, didn't hear any breathing, and announced his death. Then the crying really got intense. But a man named Paul worked his way through the overwrought crowd, had Eutychus put back down on the ground - and he stretched his live body over the dead one. This kind of stifled the loud lamenting, nobody quite expected this turn of events. In the tense silence, those closest to the two bodies could hear Paul muttering intensely, praying fervently.

As everyone started shifting nervously on their feet, Paul slowly stood up - looked the family in the face and announced with great relief: "He's not dead, he's alive!" The crowd rushed around Eutychus and his mama and who screaming and wailing amidst great confusion, rejoicing, and unbelief. Paul slowly backed away from the scene and headed up the stairs - exhausted and grateful. He'd not noticed Eutychus falling asleep in the window. He'd been so focused on his preaching he'd lost track of time - had it really been over five hours? Paul was famished and made arrangements for dinner, even if it was midnight. Eutychus was brought back up stairs and sat next to Paul as they ate together. There the two of them stayed as Paul resumed preaching. Finally at dawn, when the yawns could no longer be stifled, and Paul had said all that he could say, they all went home.

When are you Eutychus?

When are you given opportunities to hear the truth, to be introduced to a new way of seeing reality? When are you in a place to get some wisdom and insight. And then you get bored? And you quit paying attention? And then you fall asleep?

When do you mean well? When do you get frustrated when life doesn't turn out the way you want, despite your best intentions?

Eutychus, if he was tired, probably shouldn't have been sitting in the window. Odds are his mama warned him about it. It was great to have Eutychus at the meeting to hear Paul preaching, but maybe when he got drowsy, he should have moved to a different spot.

When are you Eutychus? 
When do find yourself in situations where you need a second chance?

It was good that Eutychus had come to the gathering on Sunday - he needed to be there. And as it was, it ended up being a day he'll never forget. He got a second chance that Sunday. His life would never be the same. His family would never be the same.

Every Sunday YOU get a second chance, depending on what you do with the day. Every Sunday you get a chance to start over again, to press the reset button, and walk out the doors with a new breathe of life in you.

When are you Eutychus? When will you let others help you? When you fall, will you let others lift you up? When you make stupid decisions, will you let others tell you the truth? When you are wandering and confused, will you let others take your hand?

When are you lucky? They say that luck equals preparation plus opportunity. What are you preparing for? What is the opportunity that you are preparing for? Are you preparing for a life of generosity and forgiveness and sacrifice and joy and beauty and freedom? Or are you squandering your days with self-indulgement, pettiness, envy, and a big chip on your shoulder?

Every Sunday you can get a second chance. Paul died a long time ago, so if you fall out a window he won't be there to rescue you. But Jesus is still around. The Same Spirit that was upon him is the Same Spirit here with you - to speak to you, to inspire you, to convict you, to guide you, to lift you up. This Same Spirit often works through other disciples of Jesus - and when these disciples gather each Sunday in the name of Christ... well good things can happen. And when you need some good things to happen in your life, when you need a second chance, finding a gathering of believers could be just the thing you need.

Be Eutychus. Take the second chances given to you. Be lucky. Prepare for greatness. Look for opportunities to do good. Let God use you to help others make the most of their second chances.

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