Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.
10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”
18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
– Colossians 4:7-18 [ESV]
“I’d go to war with you.” She had never heard that saying before, but she knew it was a complement. Diane was the director of worship at the church we were serving. In the days of cassette tape accompaniment tracks our choir performed a cantata. During one number the tape got mis-cued and the tech running the tape player couldn’t find the proper place on the tape. Diane realized something had to be done, so she took her score from the podium to the nearby piano, played the appropriate piece and directed the choir from the piano. By the time that piece was over the techs had things straightened out and she returned to the podium and directed the choir from there. The rest went off without any further glitches. It was in that context that one of the choir members (a US Navy officer) told her, “I’d go to war with you.” In other words he appreciated how she took control of the situation and kept things going in the face of a confusing and anxious moment. Thankfully they didn’t have to go to war.
Paul had gone to war with several people whom he names here in these closing thoughts of this letter. It is significant that he ties his relationship to them with some of the troubles they had endured together. These experiences had forged a bond that was deeper than being next-door-neighbors, or even members of the same family. They had suffered together. And they continued to serve the cause of Christ’s kingdom in the face of hardship, suffering and trials of various kinds. They were fellow prisoners and prayer warriors. They had been battle buddies.
Now that Paul is nearing the end of his life and ministry. He is writing to these precious people realizing that because he is in prison, he must delegate the churches’ leadership to others. To whom does he turn? To those who have been to war with him. He will eventually turn to Timothy and Titus to whom he will write and who he will entrust with leadership in Ephesus.
These are in Colossae and Laodicea. Still others are in Antioch, Corinth, Thessalonica, and even in Jerusalem. All of these were their battle buddies. They were fighting the spiritual battles against sin, Satan, and the world. We can thank God for all of our own battle buddies, and remember that when we do have to engage in such battles we do not need to battle on alone.