Shout Outs: Tychicus
In Colossians 4:7-18, the Apostle Paul closes his letter to the church at Colossae, with ten “Shout Outs” to friends who were with him on mission across Asia Minor. A Shout Out is simply a public acknowledgement of good. Paul closed most of his letters with a list of shout outs. These were one or two sentence acknowledgements of their contribution to his ministry and life.
These shout outs from Paul remind us that he was not alone. And neither should we try to be as we live life and participate in God’s mission. Christianity is about relationships. Church is simply a group of friends that are pursuing God’s mission together. Jesus had the twelve. Paul had around 35 that he mentions across all of his letters. The model is Friendship + Mission. There is no such thing as solo Christianity.
Paul’s first Shout Out went to a young man named Tychicus. Who was Tychicus? Here’s what we know from the four, possibly five, mentions he receives in the New Testament.
- He was from Asia, possibly Ephesus (see Acts 20:4).
- He traveled with Paul and served as Paul’s mailman, delivering Paul’s letters to the churches.
- He’s mentioned in Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21-22; Colossians 4:7-8; 2 Timothy 4:12. Also, possibly 2 Corinthians 8:22, where an unnamed person fits the other descriptions Paul gives of Tychicus.
If we could describe Tychicus in a sentence we could say – Tychicus was a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, who delivered good news to the churches, and encouraged the hearts of believers everywhere he went.
These three statements about Tychicus describe the kinds of people we need in the church today.
1. He Was a Faithful Servant.
This speaks to his character and dependability. In 2 Corinthians 8:22 (if that’s referring to Tychicus), Paul says, we tested him and found him faithful. Paul depended on Tychicus to deliver his letters. He also sent him to take care of churches so that the established leaders could come to Ephesus to be encouraged and trained. Tychicus could be depended on.
Today, many people seem to value autonomy more that dependability. We want the freedom to show up when we can and pick and choose opportunities to serve that fit our schedule. Dependability and faithfulness require a depth of friendship and commitment that requires maximum unselfishness. That’s why its called servanthood.
Are you considered a Faithful Servant to your church and community?
2. He Delivered Good News.
Paul said, “Tychicus will tell you” (Colossians 4:7). Count on Tychicus for the truth, the good news, the good words. Tychicus carried the letters from Paul, and since illiteracy was so high in the first century (potentially 80-90%), he was probably the first to read the letter to the believers as well. So, the first time people heard the word of God from Paul, it was likely from Tychicus’ mouth.
In a day and time of difficulty and struggle, a good word was and is life to the soul of the church. What good words have you brought to people lately? We like to talk about the latest on our doom scrolls and the gossip around town. What if we focused on good words, truth, and words that build up. That’s what Tychicus was known for. (See also Proverbs 12:25; 15:23; 16:24).
And when was the last time someone heard the word of God from you mouth? We need modern day Tychicus’ who will know the word of God and speak it into everyday conversations, who will open their homes for Bible Study and have Gospel Conversations with people as a way of life.
Can you be counted on to bring the good news to your community?
3. He Encouraged the Hearts of Believers
Tychicus was a trusted encourager. En-courage can simply be defined as adding courage to someone. Through your words, example, attitude you can add or take away courage from others. Paul noted Tychicus’ ability to add courage to the churches.
Hebrews 12:24-25 tells us that one of the main reasons for church is encouragement – “And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but ENCOURAGING EACH OTHER, and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
Does your words, lifestyle, attitude add or take away courage from other believers? Dan Cathy said, “Do you know how you can tell if someone needs encouragement? They’re breathing.” Everyone you meet today and everyday is in need of encouragement. Think about your life and words and consider how you may add courage to others today.
Let’s be like Tychicus this week. Faithful servants, bringing good news, and encouraging hearts for the sake of the Gospel.