Airline passengers were asked to disembark from planes, exit the airport, then re-enter through the security checkpoint a second time. The lines were long. Most passengers tried to be cordial and cooperative but some were irate.
Departures were delayed for hours causing connections to be missed all around the country. All of this because a security officer had fallen asleep while on duty at the Louisville International Airport. It was a bad time for a nap.
Paul and his missionary team were on the last day of a week-long visit to Troas, a coastal city near Troy. Probably because it was the last evening, Paul talked longer than usual. The upstairs meeting room must have been crowded because a young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window.
As Paul talked on and on, Eutychus sank into a deep sleep. Then the unthinkable happened. The Bible says that “when he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.“
The service already disrupted, Paul rushed downstairs, threw his arms around Eutychus and announced to the crowd, “Don’t be alarmed. He’s alive.” But it was a bad time for a nap.
Jesus took his disciples to a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives, a place called Gethsemane. Most of the disciples waited near the garden’s entrance while Peter, James and John accompanied Jesus inside.
Jesus asked those three to keep watch as he went further into the garden to pray. When Jesus came back he found them sleeping and reprimanded them, saying, “Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?”
He went away and returned twice more, each time to find the disciples asleep. “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” Bad time for a nap.
Jesus had previously told his disciples many stories about the end of the age. He concluded one such story by saying, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come … If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping” (Mk 13:32-33, 36).
That, too, would be a bad time for a nap.
Barry Howard is senior minister of First Baptist Church in Corbin, Ky.
Pastor at the Wieuca Road Baptist Church in Atlanta. He also serves as a leadership coach and columnist for the Center for Healthy Churches.