Some people don’t realise it but I could have had an illustrious career as a tambourine player, but my career never quite took off. When I was six years old my school was to take part in a concert. While some boys and girls danced to the finger polka (the girls has margarine tubs on their heads covered in paper flowers – Oh how I wanted to be one of them) the rest of us were to play percussion along with the piano. We practiced for weeks – I was an expert at Ta Tatataa tata taaaa. The concert was to take place in the Ulster Hall and we were to appear on the programme once. Our first item went very well and we had to wait until after the interval for the second performance. Being an evening concert I felt a little tired and worn out by the whole thing so I pulled up two chairs backstage and took a nap. My mum was summoned from the audience by the teacher who wanted to know what to do with this sleeping child when we were due on stage. Mum said to let me sleep and so I missed out on my big performance.
Our lives are often tiring and stressful – it is so tempting to pull up a chair and take a nap in the midst of what should be our star performance. The disciples did the same – what should have been their staring roll supporting Jesus in his time of turmoil turned out to be nap time – after all it was late at night and their tummies were full – they couldn’t keep awake.
Matthew 26:40-43 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.
I don’t want to sleep through whatever role God has planned for me – even if I’m tired or stressed. Thankfully there is another incident in the bible that lets me know that God is not too harsh on us sleepy heads:
Acts 20:7-12 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.
Lord keep me awake so I can be at your service when you need me.