Are you a reliable person? Do you occupy the rare ranks of those trusted to carry out delicate duties with discretion and bless others in the process? Tychicus, one of the Apostle Paul’s trusted representatives, was such a servant. We could stand for a few more today.
Traveling and ministering with Paul (Acts 20:4), Tychicus was often sent by Paul to churches to share news and encourage them (Eph 6:21; 2 Tim 4:12; Titus 3:12). He was a loyal and loved messenger, a faithful co-worker to Paul and a beloved servant of the Church.
To get a flavor of the favor Tychicus earned, read what Paul penned to the church in Colossae:
“Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.” Colossians 4:7-9
Tychicus was a trusted friend: Paul knew that he could trust Tychicus to share honestly and openly with the church in Colossae. These men were vulnerable with and accountable to one another: they traveled together and lived life alongside one another. They encountered danger together, which brought them closer; and they were pursuing the same mission, which gave them an opportunity to hold the other accountable to their shared commitments. It was an iron-sharpening-iron relationship. Paul entrusted his news and reputation to Tychicus, an intimate associate. How many people do you trust to share about your work and ministry? Do others do this with you?
Two Proverbs remind me of Tychicus. Proverbs 13:17 says, “A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.” And similarly, Proverbs 25:13 reads, “Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the spirit of his masters.”
Paul’s ministry would not have been as effective without Tychicus. He needed somebody he could trust to fulfill the demands of ministry and church planting; the needs of ministers today haven’t changed in this respect.
Paul proceeds to pile the praise on Tychicus, describing him as “a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord” (Col 4:7).
Tychicus was willing to share in suffering for the gospel, for the Church, for those who needed Jesus.
I trust you know a few beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord. In their own way, building off how God made them, they show kindness and charity. They are engaged, aware and attentive to others’ needs—to your needs.
Weather prognosticators often refer to themselves as reliable and dependable. But with factors out of their control, they can only do so well. Tychicus—not a fair-weather fellow—was reliable and dependable in ministering to others. He was a steady servant. He was faithful.
Traveling with Paul meant travails: shipwrecks, hunger, stonings, risking robbery, illness, beatings. Writing from prison, Paul commends Tychicus for being a fellow slave. They served as humble bond-slaves in the Lord.
Tychicus was willing to share in suffering for the gospel, for the Church, for those who needed Jesus. He was willing to submit to the Lord and his spiritual leaders, evidenced by being a faithful emissary. He was willing to fulfill tasks and missions on which Paul sent him, even when the journey was long and dangerous.
We all need cheerleaders, someone to lift our spirits and encourage us. Someone who will love us through hard times and challenge us when we need it. This is what Tychicus did for Paul.
Do you make and take opportunities to encourage fellow ministers of the gospel?
Paul not only sent him to deliver news, but also to come alongside the Church to encourage, support and strengthen them. Such sweet saints are still sorely needed. Let me encourage you to be one.
More like a vitamin than medicine
The Church will always need faithful servants who can be given sensitive support roles, like Tychicus. Can people entrust their reputations to you and count on you to fulfill needed tasks, like Paul trusted Tychicus?
Do you make and take opportunities to encourage fellow ministers of the gospel? Are you beloved or bemoaned, impacting others or merely invisible? The Church is overstocked with the latter.
Disciplemaking is multiplied when maturing believers gladly share in ministry.
I am still thankful for a summer camp in mountainous Tennessee that gave me an opportunity to build ministry skills and unknowingly test my calling early in my career. Leading devotions, befriending campers and building relationships with them (and getting them to meals mostly on time!) whet my appetite for ministry. Without the leaders of the camp putting their trust in me to steward these campers, I may never have considered ministry.
Additionally, the pastor I served under in Brooklyn, New York trained and entrusted me to preach regularly, lead worship and lead Bible studies with youth as well as seniors. He brought me into the ministry of the church and trusted me to serve the flock. These rich and varied opportunities cemented my call to the pastorate.
Who can you enlist, empower and encourage in their growth in serving? Never underestimate the impact this can have on them and God's kingdom.
Disciplemaking is multiplied when maturing believers gladly share in ministry. The Church is broadened and deepened when dutiful partners own and fulfill essential tasks. Godly, God-honoring initiative by the servant-minded strengthen the Church—equipped saints doing the work of the ministry (Eph 4:11-16).
We too are messengers, emissaries. We must be faithful with God’s good news. It is a message worth serving, suffering for and with which we may encourage others. Be a Tychicus!
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