Not a List

Read: Colossians 4:7-18

Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. (v. 7)

Fred Craddock once preached a sermon titled “When the Roll Is Called Down Here” on Romans 16. There at the end Paul greeted by name a very long list of people in Rome. But, Craddock said, don’t dare call those verses only a list! Lists are boring. Lists just have information. The end of Romans is not a list: it is a living litany of beloved servants of Jesus Christ!

The end of Colossians is the same. First Paul listed a number of people who were with him and who sent their greetings to Colossae. Included here were the people who would hand-deliver the letter. Then Paul greeted by name some people he knew. But it wasn’t merely a list! This is part of that great cloud of witnesses from whom we draw inspiration. These are sisters and brothers in Christ, and our roughly 2,000-year separation from them does not diminish our fellowship with them.

These verses are sometimes called matters of “housekeeping.” Just basic instructions on reading this letter and such. But they remind us that God knows us each by name. We said on the first day of this month that by the Spirit this letter is written to each one of us. “Dear Mary. Dear Garcia. Dear You.” Now we end with specific names that remind us that this is true. The Spirit of God has a message for you, for me, for each of us. Thanks be to God for his love and care! —Scott Hoezee

As you pray, give thanks that your name is written in the Book of Life.

About the Author

Scott Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He served two Michigan congregations from 1990-2005 and since 2005 has been a faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves chiefly as the Director of The Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of several books, including most recently Why We Listen to Sermons (Calvin Press 2019) and is the co-host of the “Groundwork” radio program.