Crossroads: Paying Attention


Acts 20:7-12

My Story

Have you ever fallen asleep or started daydreaming in a class, meeting, or event? Perhaps nobody noticed, but you left not really knowing what took place at that particular event. Or perhaps you had to give an answer to a question you hadn’t heard. This isn’t a story about myself, but rather a TV episode that illustrates this. Friends was a very popular show back in the mid-1990s and early 2000s. In one particular episode, Chandler, one of the main characters, falls asleep in what turns out to be a very important meeting. As he is waking up, the woman in charge of the meeting asks for volunteers. Not wanting to betray that he has no idea what she is talking about, Chandler says yes. Unfortunately for him, it turns out that he has accepted a job that will take him from New York City to Tulsa, Oklahoma. He then has to explain to his wife why he will be moving to Oklahoma and coming home on the weekends. He missed something very important because he wasn’t paying attention, and had to suffer the consequences.

Your Story

At some point, we all miss something important. We lose ourselves in a daydream or fall asleep at the worst possible time. We are guilty of this, the disciples were guilty of this, and in our Bible story today, Eutychus was guilty of this. Talk to your children about a time when you weren’t paying attention. What happened? Is there a time when someone wasn’t paying attention to something important you had to say? How did you feel?

The Bible Story

“We met on Sunday to worship and celebrate the Master’s [the Lord’s] Supper. Paul addressed the congregation. Our plan was to leave first thing in the morning, but Paul talked on, way past midnight. We were meeting in a well-lighted upper room. A young man named Eutychus was sitting in an open window. As Paul went on and on, Eutychus fell sound asleep and toppled out the third-story window. When they picked him up, he was dead. Paul went down, stretched himself on him, and hugged him hard. ‘No more crying,’ he said. ‘There’s life in him yet.’ Then Paul got up and served the Master’s [the Lord’s] Supper. And went on telling stories of the faith until dawn! On that note, they left—Paul going one way, the congregation another, leading the boy off alive, and full of life themselves.” —Acts 20:7-12 (The Message)

In this story, Eutychus, a young boy, falls asleep. Paul has been preaching for hours, and finally Eutychus falls asleep. But then tragedy strikes as he falls out of the window and dies. Paul, however, hugs Eutychus and brings him back to life! So what’s the moral of this story? Don’t fall asleep next to an open window? Well, perhaps that is one lesson to be learned from this story. But the other is the importance of paying attention. Paul was telling stories of the faith, important stories of life changing events, and Eutychus fell asleep. Before we judge Eutychus too harshly, though, it’s important to remember that we do the same thing. We do this when we stop paying attention to what people are telling us. We do this when we don’t listen to our parents (or our children). We may zone out in a meeting and miss something important, like in my first story. God knows and understands that there are times when we lose focus and stop paying attention. The disciples kept falling asleep while they were supposed to keep watch over Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Sometimes we, like the disciples, stop paying attention to what God wants us to do. We follow our daydreams and don’t listen to what God is asking us.


• Do you sometimes forget to pay attention? How so?
• As a family, talk about ways that you “hear” God speak. Talk about times when you haven’t listened to God. What happened? Then talk about what happened when you did listen to God.


Thank God for understanding that we sometimes lose focus and forget to pay attention. Ask God for help in paying attention to the others around you this week.


Find ways this week to practice paying attention: write down what your parents or teachers say, ask for help if you missed the directions, etc.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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