Fellowship of Encouragement
7 Tychicus, our dearly loved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are and so that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, a faithful and dearly loved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here. (Colossians 4:7-9)
From verses 7 to the end of the chapter, Paul speaks of fellow believers in the ministry who have helped him and are actively serving, visiting and sharing the gospel. What we can see from these following verses is a network of believers working together to share the gospel, a fellowship of encouragement. Remember that Paul is in prison, but he is still able to keep up with other people’s needs, all because of other believers who have come to him in prison, minister to him and share with him the news and needs.
Tychicus was a faithful assistant of Paul, a “dearly loved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord,” most likely the one sent to carry this letter to the church at Colossae, as well as the letter to the Ephesians, who “will tell you all the news about me. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are and so that he may encourage your hearts.” In the future years, Tychicus would help Titus as a relief minister (see Titus 3:12). Near the end of Paul’s life, Paul would send Tychicus to help minister to the church at Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:12).
Onesimus was a runaway slave from Colossae. We learn of his particular predicament in the letter to Philemon, Onesimus’ master and fellow believer in Christ. A runaway slave was subject to severe punishment. In that letter, Paul advocated for Philemon to forgive Onesimus who is also repentant. Not only that, but in his journey, Onesimus came to become “a faithful and dearly loved brother,” meaning a fellow believer in Christ. Onesimus would be sent to the church at Colossae alongside Tychicus with both letters to Colossae and Philemon to “tell you about everything here.”
Paul was assisted by fellow believers who encouraged him in prison, who ministered to him, and who shared the needs of fellow churches. Filled with this information and guided by the Holy Spirit, Paul would then write these letters to help the churches. By Tychicus and Onesimus’ faithfulness, hundreds of years later, we can read this book of Colossians written by Paul. As a body of believers, we don’t have to try to do everything, because, in all honesty, we can’t. But God knew this about us, and therefore, gave us each our unique personalities and gifts that we can help with one another and serve one another as we accomplish the Great Commission.
Isaac De Guzman