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Little Tich Tychicus
Why "Little Titch?"
We sometimes say, "Oh, I'm just a Little Titch' in the overall scheme of things." Or we call our child a 'little titch' as a term of endearment. There's even an adjective that derives from the phrase: titchy, meaning very small.
Why do we say that? It stems from an English music hall comedian and dancer, Harry Relph, who was only four feet, six inches tall and was a popular entertainer long ago. He gained the nickname as he looked a little like a man who tried to claim the valuable Tichborn Estate for himself.
There was another man about nineteen hundred years before, who got himself into the Biblical records. Compared with Jesus' Twelve Apostles, he was small and insignificant, but in the end he made quite a contribution to the work of St. Paul and the spread of the Gospel. His name was Tychicus, which is sometimes said to mean 'encourager,' while other sources give it as 'chance.' The latter may be more correct, but God does not leave things to chance and Tychicus was a great help and encourager for Paul.
Have you ever heard of him? Was he famous?
Well, I've never heard of any beautiful stained glass windows being erected in his honour, I don't think he was ever made a Saint, but he was there in his own small way and ended up being very useful to Paul. In fact, he is mentioned five times in the New Testament.
No Headlines for Tychicus
Tychicus was small and not very important; nothing he ever said was recorded; he didn't hit the headlines. However, we do learn that he was Asian, he was a leader of the Christian church in Asia, and he was willing to minister and he served Paul and the brethren in whatever way was needed. He made himself available; he was committed and he maintained that commitment.
First Mention of Tychicus
The first time we meet Tychicus is in Dr. Luke's account of The Acts of the Apostles (20.4), when Paul was on what we call his Third Missionary Journey. Paul and his diverse group of fellow-travellers had spent the past three months in Corinth. These fellow-travellers were representatives of the churches he had founded in different places, including Berea, Thessalonica, Philippi and what we usually refer to as Asia Minor.
Paul had collected money to aid the poor Christians in Jerusalem and wanted to sail to Syria on the way there. He sent the two Asian leaders, Tychicus and Trophimus on ahead, probably so they could arrange the voyage from Troas. They probably knew the place and the language, and could find somewhere near the port for them to stay as they waited for a ship.
In this way, Tychicus helped to make travelling easier and safer for Paul and the rest of the group as they carried their precious aid and tried to avoid robbers on the way. It took Paul and the rest of the group five days to join them and then they needed to wait a week for a ship going to Syria.
The Second Mention of Tychicus
The other times we find Tychicus mentioned were in Paul's letters.
The second time we meet him is at the close of Paul's Letter to the Ephesians. He wrote the letter while he was imprisoned in Rome for the first time.
Near the end of his Letter (Ephesians 6.21-22) he told the Christians in Ephesus that he was sending it with Tychicus so that he would be able to tell them how he fared in prison and how his appeal to the emperor for his release was going.
This was an important mission, as it was a circular letter that had been copied and Tychicus was to see that copies reached churches in Asia, Laodicea and Colosse. Paul added this recommendation of Tychicus:
'He is a dear brother and faithful minister in the Lord. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, to let you know how we are, and to encourage your hearts.'
Paul's Third Mention of Tychicus
Again, Paul referred to Tychicus, this time near the end of his Letter to the Colossians (4. 7-8). He wrote in a similar vein: 'Tychicus will tell you all the news about me: he is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant of the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts.'
Tychicus was a great ambassador for Paul and for Christ, often travelling for some days to deliver the letters, and to be an encouragement to other Christians.
Paul's Fourth Mention of Tychicus
It must have been quite soon after this that Paul wrote his second Letter to Timothy. In it (4.11-12) he told Timothy that 'Only Luke is with me,' so all the others may have been sent off on other errands. He asked Timothy to 'Get Mark and bring him with you,' adding, 'I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus.'
Paul's Fifth and Last Mention of Tychicus
The final time we find Paul mentioning Tychicus, was in his Letter to Titus, who was in Crete. This time Paul was not in prison. In his final messages to Titus, he wrote: 'When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter here.'
Nicopolis was a port city on the west coast of the Greek peninsula, the best part of two hundred miles from Athens.
As well as being a faithful envoy for Paul, Tychicus must have been fit with all that walking and travelling in ships, especially in winter when the sea could be quite rough.
Not So Titchy Tychicus
Well, I've found that although Tychicus did not leave any writing or make any headlines in the news, our Asian man loved the Lord and showed it in his actions, rather than his words.
He was a beloved leader and faithful minister, willing to help in any way he could. Yet he remained humble and did not seek the limelight for himself, but did his best to help Paul to share the Good News with others. He is a great example for us, even today.
In fact, our Tychicus was not so titchy at all!