As we finish up the letter to the Ephesian church, we come across an incredible potent verse from the Apostle Paul, “that you may know how I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything.” (Eph 6:21)
This one verse tells us two things about the Apostle Paul and his ministry. First, we see that the Apostle Paul was not a lone ranger in ministry. He had companionship. Remember, Paul is in a Roman prison, suffering and the churches he had planted were concerned about his welfare. Paul writes to the Ephesian and Colossian church to encourage them and it was Tychicus who hands deliver these letters that they may know more about his situation. (Col 4:7)
The Apostle Paul wants them to be encouraged, not discouraged by his sufferings in prison. He wants them to know that he is remaining strong in the Lord and has joy knowing that through Him the gospel is going out to others.
A second thing this verse tells us is that there was an abundance of God’s grace in the midst of trial. This same grace that was extended to Paul, also extends to us in Christ in our suffering. And while we may be tempted to wallow in self-pity and bring others into our suffering, through Christ we have the ability to encourage others while we pass through whatever we are going through.
Paul when writing his second letter to the Corinthians, put it this way, “If we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings so then through Christ we will also share in comfort too.” (II Cor 1:4) This abundance of God’s grace in suffering is only available when we see suffering as a vehicle for God’s glory instead of a “thing” that has to be expunged from our lives. When we do that it becomes redemptive and through it we can teach others about what it means to follow Christ. .
So let us remember that in our trial we need others, like Tychicus who Paul also describes as “a beloved brother and faithful minister.” Let us also remember that while none of us invite suffering into our lives, how we suffer is our choice. We can suffer with a heart that looks to glorify God or be embittered by it. That is our decision!