(Ephesians 6:21) “But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:”
Tychicus, mentioned by Paul in his epistle to Timothy (2 Tim 4:12) and Titus (Titus 3:12), is known as “beloved” and “faithful.” We see Tychicus as a co-laborer as early as Acts 20:4. He was the brother who many believe delivered the epistle to the Ephesians.
In addition to it being crucial for this letter to find its way to the recipients, it was also important they were able to “know my affairs.” I wondered why Paul wanted them to know his situation and how he was doing. Was he whining about his circumstances or looking to generate pity? No, it’s obvious from the context of this chapter there is a real part of ministry in the Ephesian church to be praying for the Apostle. He laid out the doctrine of spiritual warfare and then applied it by describing his own personal battles. By understanding these things, the Ephesians could keep him encouraged through prayer so Satan would not gain the upper hand through depression and oppression. They were working hand in hand with Paul to keep preaching the gospel in Rome!
How many beloved and faithful people in the Lord do you know who have been overrun by the attacks of the enemy? Maybe there are men you know who left the pastorate not because of sin or indifference but because they became so discouraged. Maybe there are missionaries who came home from the field because they did not see the results they had hoped to see. Too often, I’m afraid Christians in the pew think overcoming severe discouragement in ministry is an issue of personal strength and fortitude rather than seeing it as part of spiritual warfare. Many people don’t know how to fight in this type of battle so they respond with inspirational sayings or admonitions to “toughen up.” Worse, they respond with indifference. After all, aren’t pastors and missionaries supposed to be “stronger” than the average Christian? Instead, what is really needed by those in ministry is the ear of someone trusted and the knowledge they have someone praying for them. In my personal experience, when I was at my lowest point in ministry, it was like water in a desert to know someone prayed for me and would pray with me. One person who would do this gave enough strength to make up for a hundred who would not stand up with me or encourage me. Thank the Lord there were some people who surrounded me in my time of need. Faithfulness works on both sides – those who are ministering and those who have the opportunity to minister to those who minister.
If you are discouraged, depressed or feeling cast down in the work of the ministry, it’s important that you share what is on your heart with someone who will pray for you and with you. You should have some people around you who may know your affairs and stick with you through the discouragement. If this is you, and you aren’t surrounded by those who would stand with you, please reach to firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be a privilege to be there for you today.
Renewed Thought – Your prayers can help someone who is discouraged in ministry to see beyond where they are right now.