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Paul Needed a Tychicus

On March, 1990, the Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan scored 69 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers, at that time the 9th highest individual total for a single game in NBA history. The Bulls won the game 117 to 113 to clinch a playoff spot that year. While Jordan played a key role in winning the game, he didn't do it by himself. Scottie Pippin, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, John Paxon, B. J. Armstrong, Charles Davis, and Clifford Lett combined to score 47 more points for the Bulls. That leaves one point unaccounted for. That point was scored by rookie forward Stacey King. King expressed this interesting perspective on the game in an entertaining post-game comment. He said,"I'll always remember this as the night Michael Jordan and I combined to score 70 points." I love that, don't you?! Basketball is a team sport, and the greatest teams are the ones where there is a "team-spirit." Even super-athletes like Jordan are incapable of winning by themselves. As the cliche goes, "There is no `I' in team." Winning teams are always more about "we" than about "me." (see http://www.michaeljordanbullsdvds.com/69-points.html.

To win at basketball requires a team effort, and the same thing is true in a winning church! Even the most capable Christians need help in their work for the Lord. This truth is demonstrated in many places in the New Testament. One of them is found in Ephesians 6:21-22 — But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts." This passage of Scripture was written by one of the most capable Christians of all time — the apostle Paul. We sometimes seem to think of Paul as almost a super-human Christian who single-handedly turned his world upside down for Christ. Indeed, Paul would make most anybody's list as the first century church's highest scorer and MVP ( Most Valuable Preacher)!! But wait. A closer look at the passage under consideration shows that Paul did not do it alone! As he writes he is an ambassador in chains" (verse 20), a reference to the fact he was in prison in Rome. He is unableto go to Ephesus to take the letter he has penned to the brethren in that city. That's where Tychicus comes in — he can combine with Paul to do the Lord's work! What little we know about this brother is found here and in 4 other New Testament references: Acts 20:4; Colossians 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12. What is clear is that Paul needed Tychicus, and Tychicus was vital to the life and ministry of Paul and the Lord's church! Although not the lead scorer in the game, Tychicus was on the Lord's team, and he combined with Paul and other Christians to spread the gospel of Christ. 'Tychicus was not content to be a "pew warmer." At some point along the way he was baptized into Christ, and in the providence of God he came across and teamed up with Paul. By the time the above text was written he had proven himself to be "a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord (Colossians 4:7)," worthy of the love and trust and respect of God's people. If a Christian like Paul needed a Tychicus in his life, you can be sure we do, too. And for many if not most of us, our role is to be a Tychicus. Will you think about it?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ