July 6, 2020

The Balancing Act

Acts 20:1–16

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Paul in Macedonia and Greece

After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews1 as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.

Eutychus Raised from the Dead

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.

13 But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and2 the day after that we went to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

Footnotes

[1] 20:3 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time; also verse 19
[2] 20:15 Some manuscripts add after remaining at Trogyllium

The Balancing Act



Key Verse | Acts 20:7-9

. . . Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.

Bio | Paije Stevens

Hey, y'all! My name is Paije Stevens, and my husband and I attend Watermark Frisco and have been a part of the Watermark community for five years. We graduated from Texas A&M, but met in our home church youth ministry. We now have the blessing of working with Watermark students as small group leaders sharing the importance of being known/pursuing Christ in community! I am the executive director for several Christian preschools and absolutely love serving tiny humans and their families! We are expecting our first kiddo this year, and we look forward to continuing to pursue Christ now as a family of three!

Central Truth

When we aren't attuned to what God is speaking into our lives, we need to ask ourselves where our focus is—not only in the moments of worshiping our God but in our day-to-day lives.

Devotional | Acts 20:1–16

I think every one of us can relate to the excuse of "I'm too busy." It's something our culture deems as acceptable and even valued. In today's culture, self-worth can be defined by how...

I think every one of us can relate to the excuse of "I'm too busy." It's something our culture deems as acceptable and even valued. In today's culture, self-worth can be defined by how many activities we do or places we travel and post about, or even by how many ministries we are serving in at one time. The world values busyness, and  this often creates an inability to be still in front of the Lord, anxiety of being alone without anything to do, and straight-up exhaustion.

This is where we have to play the balancing act. I'm not sure about you, but I have fallen victim to thinking about my next task or checking off my to-do list during my current task, and unfortunately that sometimes relates to my time with the Lord. So many times, we allow busyness to steer our focus away from what is important, which should be being present to hear what the Lord has for us.

The first time I heard this piece of Scripture it was easy to pass judgment on Eutychus for falling asleep during Paul's teaching. Even though I can say I've never physically fallen asleep resulting in death during my time with the Lord, I am not sure that I can say my heart has always been fully awake during times of worship. I haven't been fully listening and embracing God because I am so focused on other things or exhausted from the day.

When we aren't listening, open, and focused on what God has for us to hear, we have to ask ourselves—where is our focus? If the answer is anything but Christ, we can identify with Eutychus. We may not have fallen three stories; but when we allow our hearts to be steered away from focusing on Christ, we lose the ability to live fully in His grace and continue the mission He has for us. The balancing act in this world is remaining awake to God's Word and His desire for our lives while living in this world and not belonging to it.

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you relate to the idea of being "asleep" while worshiping the Lord? 

2. If your answer is yes, identify what your focus is on during those times. Write it down and begin praying through ways to eliminate the distractions from what God has for you. "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." (Colossians 3:2)

3. Share your list of distractions with your community and ask them to hold you accountable while praying with you for your focus during your time with the Lord.

1 Comments available

Hugh Stephenson about 11 hours ago

In faith conversations, I can get discouraged when the response is lukewarm or even hostile. Constable reminds me that most of the people who heard from Jesus directly didn’t believe either; including the Pharisees whose knowledge of scripture was encyclopedic.

Again, Paul is my model of faith, trust and obedience in his persistent witness. Importantly, Paul knows when to move on when he sees unrepentant hearts. He does not make the message about him, but about Him.

Too often I reverse the order and am determined to make sure this person “gets” the message. I forget that my call is to make sure he “hears” it. His “getting” the message is not up to me.

I am taught that my strength and help is from Him alone and not from myself; (Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 121:2)

Paraphrasing Mark Batterson – “Under qualified and overwhelmed gets me to raw dependence.”

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