"So that you may know how I am and how it is going, Tychicus will tell you everything. He is a dear brother and a faithful minister in the Lord. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, to let you know how we are, and to encourage your hearts."
Tychicus, the encourager! That is how I would like to remember him! How fortunate Paul was to have such a soul who accompanied him in many of his journeys, who knew Paul so well and the life of the churches that he could be sent to tell others not only about the heart and health of Paul, but also about the heart and health of congregations and leaders in the church! Paul was rather straightforward in many of his letters. References to others as 'beware the dogs!' might help to hear again then the ardent words of Paul here in Ephesians in reference to Tychicus, "my beloved brother, faithful minister in the Lord". Colossians will have Paul add, 'and a fellow servant in the Lord.'
Tychicus must have been one of those gifted souls whose very presence lightened your heart. You know people like that, and don't you just get down on your knees and thank God for them?!! They are these blessed souls who can lift your soul with a word of encouragement, with a view that sees things half-full and hopeful, that walks with you while also having your back. And the word for encouragement means also, one who consoles, comforts, blesses, exhorts, even challenges. In short, they are ones you long for.
Tychicus is the model of who I want to be as I am sent by the Holy Spirit to congregations, to meetings with blessed others, with the child of God I meet with face to face, one to one. Tychicus is who I so often meet among our synod's rostered leaders, and within the leadership of this synod, and the core of each congregation. It is a tone that I would like to have in my voice as husband, parent, grandparent, friend, neighbor.
And wasn't Pastor Chip Gunsten a Tychicus among us! Wasn't he the perfect example of a messenger of the gospel and the church who could tell you what was happening with a half-full view, with a word of encouragement for your ministry, and a readiness to listen with an open curiosity and joy and pathos to your own journey! No wonder we honor his name and work among us!
Paul speaks to the confidence he has in Tychicus, as a messenger he might send to others. But we hear in his words of description how wonderful, it seemed to Paul, to be able to travel with this special one.
Holman Bible Dictionary says that the name, Tychicus, means 'fortunate'. How fortunate we are when we meet a blessed soul who is our Tychicus.
As a synod, we have known that blessed soul for the past fourteen years in a 6 foot 8 inch package, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord.
For every Tychicus we bless the Lord.
May I this day, seek to be such a blessing of encouragement for others.
Lord Jesus Christ, even as you promise that you are with us always, you continue to send to us those who will bring the gracious gift of encouragement. For each of these we give you great thanks. For the building up of your church, give to each of us such a gift in our thinking the best about your whole Church and world, and in our choice of words with those we meet today. Amen.