Beloved Brother – Man as Battle Buddy

So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts. - Ephesians 6:21-22 ESV

During World War II, Angus McGillivray became a Japanese prisoner of war along with some other Scottish soldiers. Scottish soldiers took their buddy system very seriously:

Their buddy was called their “mucker,” and these Argylls believed that it was literally up to each of them to make sure their “mucker” survived. Angus’s mucker, though, was dying, and everyone had given up on him, everyone, of course, but Angus. He had made up his mind that his friend would not die. Someone had stolen his mucker’s blanket. So Angus gave him his own, telling his mucker that he had “just come across an extra one.” Likewise, every mealtime, Angus would get his rations and take them to his friend, stand over him and force him to eat them, again stating that he was able to get “extra food.” Angus was going to do anything and everything to see that his buddy got what he needed to recover. But as Angus’s mucker began to recover, Angus collapsed, slumped over, and died. The doctors discovered that he had died of starvation complicated by exhaustion. He had been giving of his own food and shelter. He had given everything he had—even his very life. [Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, Grand Rapids: Word Books Publisher, 1987), 146-47.]

The apostle Paul entrusted Tychicus, one of his Battle Buddies, with a ministry assignment to the church at Ephesus. Apparently, Tychicus was to bring Paul’s letter to the church along with a more personal word about the apostle and a word of encouragement in the Lord. Paul cared deeply for this brother. In fact, the Greek word for “beloved” means dear, very much loved. Paul did not use the term “beloved” lightly. It is obvious that Tychius had struck a chord in Paul’s heart, and he could trust him to perform this act of service in a place Paul had invested more time and effort in than any other. Paul knew he could rely on Tychicus to faithfully carry out this assignment. 

In the church world, there are people “out front” who get most of the attention. VIPs at the microphone, at the podium, on stage, on camera, on social media, etc. There is nothing wrong with that; leaders are needed. Yet, how we also need those faithful unsung heroes who love the Lord and who support the personalities who are “out front.” Men who are perhaps gifted differently and never need the attention or the applause. We’d have never known of Tychicus if Paul had not mentioned him, but he was just as valuable and important to the work of the ministry as any other. 

When I left the Army and entered full-time ministry, I found out while speaking across the country that many leaders are lonely, especially pastors and ministers in the local church. They don’t have a guy friend who “knows” them intimately, prays for them faithfully, encourages them sympathetically, and sometimes even confronts them. We see these ministers stumble, and then we wonder why they burned out or why there was a moral failure. The truth is they needed a Battle Buddy like Paul had in Tychicus.

Your pastor and church leaders need someone like Tychicus or Angus. A beloved brother who will step up when there is an important task to be done, who will kneel before God on behalf of that leader in prayer, who will stand with that leader when he needs an encouraging word, and who will stand up to that leader when he needs correction. In short, your ministers may need you to become that “beloved brother.”

Are you serving as a Battle Buddy in the life of a man of God who may need your caring presence in his life and ministry?
If you are already serving as a Battle Buddy to one of your church leaders, how can you take your service to the next level?
Pray about approaching your pastor or one of your church leaders and offering to become a “Battle Buddy” if you aren’t already. If you are, pray about training someone else.