Heavenly Father, as I enter into Your presence, I thank You for the friendship of Christ and for the support of my fellow believers.
Read COLOSSIANS 4:7–18
7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
17 Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”
18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Confidence in an unfaithful man is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint (Prov. 25:19).
When Paul is near the end of his life, isolated and imprisoned, he writes the final lines of his apostolic ministry, those final sentences about his friends (2 Tim. 4:9–22). He has a reputation for being a solo operator, but actually there are about 70 people mentioned by name in the New Testament, of whom we would know nothing but for their association with Paul.
Today’s passage is a reminder of how important this is for all of us. Look at how Paul describes his friends: Tychicus is “a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant” (7); Onesimus is a “faithful and dear brother” (9). Paul goes on to refer to “fellow-workers” (11) and his “dear friend” Luke (14). Friends matter. Friends encourage (8); friends pray (12); friends work hard (13). Christian ministry moves forward in the context of fellow workers and team environments. These people come to Paul’s mind in his closing paragraphs, not because they were high-profile leaders but because they were supportive friends. Too many leaders are isolated, sometimes because of a posture of independence and superiority.
Another reason for strengthening teamwork is because this gets the job done effectively. Just one example: Tychicus (7) is mentioned three other times in the epistles, since he carried the letters to Ephesus and to Titus in Crete as well as those to the Colossians (Eph. 6:21; 2 Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12). Since several of these letters are written from prison, Paul needs this caliber of reliability. For such a vital task, he needs this loyal and trustworthy team member.
The New Testament uses the metaphor of the body to underscore the importance of interdependence. Let’s thank God for our friends, and let’s be loyal friends to them, too.
We should pray today for God’s blessing on our friends and pray too that God will provide faithful and supportive friends for leaders known to us.
Lord, make me a team player. You must increase, but I must decrease.
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