Tychicus, Onesimus or Epaphras?

Paul sure could have used email or facebook. He had so many people he was keeping in touch with, concerned about and preaching to. Of course, he had no idea centuries later he would still be teaching us. Without the postal service or social media, Paul had to rely on friends to deliver his letters and tell others about his ministry. The benefit of these letters was multiplied by the servants of Christ who hand delivered the letters.

Oh how God’s letters to us are multiplied by those He sends into our lives to carry His word into our presence as we enter His. There are many preachers, teachers, evangelists and authors who have helped me understand God’s word over the course of my life. As I read through the last section of Colossians this morning while thoroughly enjoying a hot cup of my morning coffee, I began thinking of all the people God has sent into my life for the very same reason Paul was sending friends into the lives of the Christians in Colosse.

Tychicus will send you a full report about how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper who serves with me in the Lord’s work. I have sent him to you for this very purpose – to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you (Colossians 4:7-8).

My mind immediately goes to those God has called to the same ministry He has called me – those I learn from and am daily encouraged by as we partner together in the Lord’s work. They are faithful and helpful. They are “beloved brothers” whom I love like family! Let’s stop and thank God for the “Tychicus” in our lives.

I am also sending Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, one of your own people. He and Tychicus will tell you everything that’s happening here (Colossians 4:9).

Have you ever had a friend who just “gets you” – someone who understands you consistently, laughs with you when no one else gets it, and someone you could tell anything and they would still accept you? I cannot imagine my life without “Onesimus” and so I take time this morning to thank God for the friends who play this role in my life.

As you were instructed before, make Mark welcome IF he comes your way (Colossians 4:10b).

There are some people God sends into our lives not only for our benefit but so we can reach out to them. God wants to use us in the lives of others today. Maybe the “Mark” in your life is unpredictable, like this one who might show up in Colosse. Maybe the reason God sends someone into your life is not about you but about how God wants to work through you – which amazingly God uses to strengthen us and make us who He created us to be. So I guess we benefit after all! Let’s have our eyes wide open so we can see “Mark” for who he is, should he show up today.

This next one is my favorite and I wholeheartedly thank God for these people in my life!

Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays EARNESTLY for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. I can assure you that he prays HARD for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis (Colossians 4:12-13).

I’m so thankful this morning for the prayer warriors in my life. I do not know where I would be if it was not for the many people who have EARNESTLY prayed for me. Their prayers for me have been for protection and provision, for blessings and for wisdom. They have prayed for God to make me strong in difficult situations and for His Holy Spirit to produce holiness in my life. They have prayed for God’s will to be clear and for my heart to obediently pursue that path. I am so thankful for my parents, my in-laws, and for the many other people who consistently pray HARD for me and my family.

Let’s turn this around and look at who God is calling us to be in the lives of other people. Are you Tychicus, Onesimus or Epaphras? Who is God asking you to teach and encourage today? Who is God calling you to be a faithful and beloved friend to? Here’s the big one for me: Who am I praying for today and how am I going to pray? Can my prayers be defined as earnest? Do I pray hard for the requests others bring before me. What a great challenge for me today! I think it’s time for me to stop writing and start praying…