Tychicus. Aren’t you glad you didn’t have his name growing up?! No one would ever pronounce it correctly, nor spell it right on any Starbucks cup. Tychicus (tik-i-kus) is one of those Bible characters who isn’t well known, who most people have never paid any attention to, and who doesn’t receive the accolades or the love. There aren’t any Bible studies about him, no Beth Moore or Priscilla Shirer books or videos. Tychicus is only mentioned a handful of times in the New Testament, but the ministry he provided was enormously important.
Tychicus’ ministry included:
- He carried letters from Paul to others (involved in carrying the news from the mission field back to the churches)
- He collected for the poor and for struggling churches in Judea, as well as for Paul himself (involved in fundraising and service, for both ministries and for missionaries)
- He was a companion of Paul on several journeys (he had first-hand knowledge of what was going on, he visited Paul and the places he worked, he worked alongside missionaries – coming in for a period of time, then going back or going out to serve in other places – a short-term ‘team’ of sorts.)
- Paul sent him to visit people/churches for the express purpose of building up and encouraging their hearts and their work.
- On two occasions, Paul asks Tychicus to go and be a stand in or a substitute for other workers (Timothy and Titus) so that they would be free to come visit Paul for important work in another place. So Tychicus went and took their places for a while.
- Paul refers to him as a friend, beloved brother, faithful minister, fellow servant. The works that Paul asks of him imply that Paul considers him to be trustworthy and loyal. Paul has made Tychicus an important part of his ministry team.
This question really stuck in Billy’s head. The immediate answer is that we do – we tell our story back home. We tell it through newsletters and updates and emails. When we are physically back in Texas, we tell our story in person to whomever is interested and who will listen. But that wasn’t the intent of our friend’s question. His intent was, who shares in your work and shares it with others? In your physical absence, who takes your place and tells the story, face-to-face?
We had lots of discussion about this. Can someone else truly tell the story? Can they field the questions? Do they know the answers? Whose story is it to tell? Have we empowered people to do that work, to stand in our place and tell the story, to share news of how we are and what is going on in our lives and in the work?
After a few weeks of continued discussion and consideration, the answer tumbled off the page of my Bible. I was looking up a reference to something else, and, by chance, I happened upon (okay, I know God led me there) Paul’s reference to Tychicus in Colossians 4: 7-9
7 Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.
That began my investigation into the person of Tychicus. Who is this guy? What did Paul trust him to do? Suddenly, the question we had been wrestling with was clear. We need Tychicus people in our lives!
But the answer was also already provided. It’s YOU! YOU are Tychicus! We have a team of people around us, a ministry team that does not live in Spain, but who serve Spain and other places around the globe by being Tychicus.
- Many of you have visited us over the years - in Peru and in Spain - and have seen, firsthand, what the work is. You know about our lives and you have gone back to share those stories with people back home. You are intricately linked to the ministry and to our lives in very special ways because of your physical presence in the field with us.
- Many of you have been involved in support-raising and partnership development for us. You have helped run fundraisers, you have hosted dinners, and you have introduced us to your friends. You have shared our story with your circle of influence and widened the reach of those who hear the news from the field and who share in the story.
- Many of you share our newsletters with others. You physically give our paper newsletters out to friends, you share news from us in your Sunday School classes, you post our news on social media sites. Like Tychicus, you carry our letters back to the churches, to the people of God.
- Many of you have been a constant encouragement to us. You have sent us handwritten cards and notes, care packages, emails and prayers. Some of you have picked up the phone and given us a call, just to say you were thinking of us and praying for us.
- Some of you stand in our place as substitutes. You have cared for our family back home while we are far away. You have rushed to the aid of a child or a mother in need when we could not be there. You have ministered to each other when we were not able to physically be there to hold a hand in distress. Some of you have done physical labor in our absence, fixing things at my mother’s home when they needed repair.
We are blessed to have so many Tychicus’ in our lives! Trusted friends, loyal servants, faithful ministers and unsung heroes. Thank you for being a special part of our ministry team! Like Tychicus, your ministry alongside us is enormously important.