True story:

In college I was required to attend several classical music concerts each semester as part of the program curriculum for my music degree.

The classical music scene wasn’t my first choice. But it DID have a significant benefit built in.

Imagine this setting: Stadium seating in a warm room with dimmed lights and soft music…

As long as I didn’t roll down the stairs I could enjoy a relaxing nap while earning class credit!

Did you know some early American preachers hired their own enforcers?

In Puritan New England, Tithingmen were responsible for keeping the townsfolk awake in church. During the long, this-sermon-is-never-gonna-end, all-day-long church services. 

The Tithingman carried a long staff that was heavily knobbed on one end and had a foxtail dangling from the other. He’d use the staff to whack sleepy men or rowdy boys with the knob, or tickle the noses of sleepy women with the foxtail.

As crazy as that sounds, there’s kind of a Biblical basis for the practice.

Many people can recall the disciples falling asleep as Jesus prayed during Holy Week.

But do you remember the time Paul preached ALL NIGHT LONG in Troas?

On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight.

The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below.

Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left. Meanwhile, the young man was taken home alive and well, and everyone was greatly relieved.

Acts 20:7-12, NLT

Wait. What?

“Everyone was greatly relieved”. Was that because Paul raised the guy from the dead? Or because he finally stopped preaching?

Maybe that’s why churches have been built on the ground floor ever since?

Perhaps the moral of the story should be, “A whack on the head beats falling down dead.” 

Today, pray for your pastor. Don’t simply be thankful we no longer have to endure all-day preaching marathons. Honor them by praying for them. For courage and wisdom and grace under fire. Thank God for using them to guide you and influence your lives for the sake of the Gospel and Kingdom of God.

Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance.

1 Thessalonians 5:12, NLT

Uphold your pastor before God.

That’s worship.