Do We Know How to Be a Friend?
Tychicus will tell you
all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and
fellow servant in God. I am sending him to you for the express purpose
that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage
your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother,
who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
-- Colossians 4:7-9
Everybody talks about the importance of choosing
the right friends. But the question every believer must answer is "Do
we know how to be a good friend?"
Do we struggle more with relationships today than a hundred years ago?
Probably not. I think there are different dynamics today but I don't think
personality has changed that much over the centuries.
Sometimes it just seems like good friendships are harder than ever to
make. Maybe I'm just trying to make excuses. Do we simply lack commitment
today? I feel sometimes that we make a lot of excuses. We don't work on
the difficult relationships.
We would much rather take the path of least resistance. But it is a choice
to have relationships or not. We can crowd out our life with lots of activities.
So it's a choice for us to pursue friendships.
In the reading from Colossians, Paul talks about Tychicus as a faithful
servant. The word faithful here is faithful in his duty, faithful in his
job. It says "he will get the work done."
In 1st Corinthians 4:2 we can find the same phrase, "Moreover, it is
required of stewards that one be found trustworthy." See, it is the same
word. We want to be found faithful with what God has given us. As a steward
you give him or her something, you go away, they handle it well, they've
used it wisely. See what Paul says, "Tychicus is a faithful servant of
what we've given him to do."
When we think about serving the local church, I think of ministers,
I don't always think about the congregation or servants. I think about
people who sit in meetings, people who sit on committees, and people who
are supposed to oversee some part of the church that no else wants to
When churches are small we try to find people to serve in these various
capacities, right? Really, that's a far cry from what the word meant.
The word means a person who will get the job done; a person, when given
something to do, will see that it's completed. And Tychicus was the kind
of person that if you said, "Tychicus, would you go do this for me?" It
One of the first jobs I had was in a nuclear power manufacturing facility.
And there I noticed right away there were two kinds of employees: There
were the employees who complained about everything and the employees who
worked hard. It didn't take any time at all to find out who was who. You
go to the break room and the employees who complained took really long
coffee breaks and the dedicated workers got their cup of coffee and went
back to their machine. They went back to their job.
One of my favorite friends was a woman named Elsie. Elsie worked hard,
stayed on time with breaks and just plain loved working there. The only
people that gravitated toward the complaining, whining people were complaining,
whining people but lots of people who worked hard liked being around Elsie.
I found the same thing true everywhere I worked. And you know who got
promoted? You know who got the raises in life? You know who got the "at-a-girls"
in life? The whiners and complainers, right? Of Course not! It was the
people who loved their work. Everyone respected those people. I learned
this early in life, I'm thankful to God.
You know, God does not call you and me to be brilliant or to be popular.
God does not even call us to be successful. God calls us to be faithful.
Are we faithful with what God has given us no matter what the job may
be? We can be like Tychicus, "A faithful servant"? Can we do it in such
a way that honors God?
We've all had friends who will drop anything and help us out. Are we
the kind of friend that would drop something and help them out? That's
the kind of person Paul is esteeming; he is admiring it. He recognizes
this in Tychicus.
Another word that Paul uses to describe Tychicus is a fellow slave.
It's also a descriptive word Paul uses for himself when he talks about
"a bond-servant of Jesus Christ."
We might think of this as a comrade. Paul doesn't talk to him as a peer
in the hierarchy. He says, "A fellow slave. These two men are fellow privates
in the trenches of life. They both roll their sleeves up and work hard
for the gospel of Christ."
God does not called us to be number one or even to be successful. God
will not even called us to be the owner but has called me to be a faithful
servant of Jesus Christ.
Called to be a faithful servant - that's you and that's me. God calls
us to be faithful.
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