God's word in today's world

Like a pole above water

People often ask me if I would be a referee on their CVs. For some I do it with pleasure, for others with some hesitance, because you have to be honest when someone calls you asking you to give a reference for the person.

When someone enquires about someone who didn’t really pull their weight, my words are few and I have little enthusiasm, but if it was someone who did their part, I can’t stop speaking. The person on the other side are probably left speechless by all I have to say, but if someone earns it, I don’t want to keep them from progressing up the ladder.

I suspect Paul wouldn’t have thought twice about being Tychicus’ referee, because just look at what Paul as to say about him without being asked: 7My good friend Tychicus will tell you all about me. He’s a trusted minister and companion in the service of the Master. I’ve sent him to you so that you would know how things are with us, and so he could encourage you in your faith.

Just so you know, Tychicus also worked hard to bring the message of salvation to ordinary people. It is thought that he was one of the 70 sent out by Jesus. Tychicus wouldn’t leave a stone unturned. God’s news had to be spread and he put all his energy into it. Paul called him his brother who pulled the same yoke.

In a few sentences Paul paints a comprehensive picture of Tychicus. Tychicus is a friend, someone who would do anything for anyone at any time. He definitely did not focus on himself, but rather on others.

Everybody liked Tychicus, because he made you feel good about yourself when you were with him. He was interested in you. He really cared and was always ready to help where he could. He could turn his hands to anything. No, I suspect he didn’t always have the means to provide in someone’s need just like that, but he would make a plan to make it work.

Paul knew from experience that you could call on Tychicus 24/7. When you were really under pressure, you could call on Tychicus. People’s lives changed because of Tychicus.

That is what is expected of us: We must stand next to Tychicus and compare ourselves to him. If we were living in Paul’s time, would he have been a character witness for us and would he have been able to say the same things about us?

I doubt it.

But it doesn’t help to cover yourself in sackcloth and ashes. Just like Tychicus, we all have the potential to make a major difference in the lives of others. We must realise this, then we must put down a stake and really make an effort with the people we come into contact with every day.

Yes, we’ll still make mistakes, but let’s make every effort to focus on the other person. Let’s show them with our way of life what Jesus looks like. Let’s become the people others really love and who they can always depend on. Let’s become the pole above the water that people can hold onto, so that they can keep their heads above water. Let’s become people other would always want to be a referee for.


Colossians 4:7-18


What do people say about you?

What are your shortcomings?

For whom can you be a pole?


Father, I realise that sometimes, no, rather more than sometimes, I do not stand up like a pole above water that people can hold onto. Sometimes I’m more under water than above. But I know that You’ve called me to make a difference in the lives of others. I really want to live in such a way that You can depend on me. Amen.

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