How often have you gotten to the end of one of Paul’s letters and glossed over the various names he brings up? I know that I have. They’re part of the Bible we rarely, if ever, consider. We don’t look to Paul’s words about Tychicus for theological insight. Or consider his greeting to Nympha and the church in her house to discover what truth is buried there? These acknowledgments and the various genealogies seem like the Bible’s “fly-over country.” But even a surface reading tells us something vital for our walk with Jesus.
For those not familiar with the term – “Fly over country” refers to those parts of America that folks flying between the power centers on the east and west coasts rarely visit but often view as they fly over.
Consider the closing verses of Colossians 4:7-18. Tychicus is the letter’s courier, delivering it from Paul’s hand to the churches at Colossi and Laodicea. Onesimus will accompany him (much more to that story). Both of them will not only deliver the letter but provide first-hand insight concerning Paul. Aristarchus, Barnabas, Epaphras, Luke, and Demas are all with Paul and send their greetings. He encourages his readers to welcome Mark if he should come their way. Lastly, Paul sends personal words of instruction to Nympha and Archippus. We could also add Philemon and Timothy to the list. Philemon because Onesimus is carrying a personal letter to him from Paul and Timothy is identified in the letter’s greeting.
We could say that all of these folks were part of Paul’s team and had various roles within it. It may seem like a nice bit of history and color but it’s more. If Paul needed the support of other folks what does that say about us? What does that say about our pastors and leaders? It’s easy to see a church, a small group, or a ministry as belonging to an individual. And some pastors and leaders wrongly encourage that thought. But ministry done right and following Paul’s example is a team of folks. Some young, some old, all with differing gifts, talents, and abilities functioning in harmony.
But what about Lambchow? Isn’t this just Dale’s ministry? In a way, yes. But there is also an informal support system that I rely on. Specifically, my wife Betty along with Ben, Kyle, Ellen, Geoff, and the rest of the Vineyard Church Peoria family. Even some of you who have shared our writings or sent us a note of encouragement are a part of that system. So, you see, even something as individualistic as a ministry blog needs the support of others.
It can rightly be said that our walk with Jesus is by nature one of solitude and of community. Others blazed the path we follow, some will follow in our wake, others walk beside us. Our faith and love of Jesus are our own yet it cannot be fully expressed without others. I hope that in some small way Lambchow supports your walk with Jesus. I also hope that you recognize and rely on the support of other believers whether you have the spiritual responsibilities of a Paul or the servanthood of Tychicus. All are needed, all require support, encouragement, and words of wisdom – even you.