The Good Life in the Last Days by Mikey Lynch is an easy to read exploration of the tension for Christians as we live in light of eternity. I was eager to read this book because it dealt with where I am at right now: feeling caught on the swinging ship of worldliness versus godliness.
Put simply, how can I justify having a Netflix account when I could be spending it on overseas missions? What right do I have to spend a night at home when I could (should?) be street preaching at every opportunity?
If you have asked yourself those questions, then I absolutely recommend giving this book a few hours of your time. In fact, the topics explored by Lynch are applicable to a variety of Christians: those totally burnt out and wary of making any effort at all, those who give little thought to serving God aside from an hour on Sundays, those who have a niggling guilty feeling that they are never doing enough for God, and those who might even feel quite smug about their dedication to the work and look down on everyone else.
There are three things that I especially want to highlight that make me confident in recommending this book to such a broad audience (or in fact to anyone at all). Firstly,
Lynch doesn’t skim over the hard parts of Jesus’ teaching. Secondly, he throws out the idea that we are supposed to live with a hierarchy of responsibilities with God at the top. Finally, and this is a key point, he provides ample room for Christian freedom.
Did Jesus really say…?
As a reader of many Christian theological books and articles I am keenly aware of the commitment Protestant authors have to the Sola Scriptura mantra. Yet it is easy to pluck out verses to support our point. The oft repeated “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew chapter 7, verse 1) is a prime example.
In The Good Life in the Last Days, instead of leaping around the New Testament trying to prove a pre-conceived idea, Lynch narrows down the focus to a few segments of Scripture, pulling them apart in context. The clincher is that his chosen texts are hard! They are precisely the verses we might wish to avoid.
Thankfully, Lynch wades right in and helps to make sense of these difficult passages. In effect he declares, that yes, Jesus did say these things, now let’s figure out what to do about it. I found it immensely helpful.
No simplistic answers
The second concept that encouraged me was the way in which Lynch discusses the various simplistic answers Christians have been drawn to. He recognises that it isn’t enough to tell everyone that we need to put God first, others next and ourselves last when faced with complex life situations. Complex questions need complex answers, which Lynch dexterously provides.
He achieves this by always holding Scripture in balance and denying us the simplicity of a “God or the world” strawman. In doing so, what emerges is a totally God-focused approach that still reminds us that God in fact made many good things that we may devote our resources to. Basically, it is possible to God-focused and not be a monk. Hooray!
Perhaps some readers might find it frustrating that there is no step-by-step guideline for living a guilt-free, God-glorifying, soul-satisfying life. However, that is exactly what makes the conclusion to this book so encouraging to me.
Lynch spends a good chapter exploring Christian freedom. He holds in tension the explicit commands of the Bible while honouring the joy of each Christian’s freedom to choose in a huge variety of circumstances that have no command attached.
What a relief it has been to me to read this book. It has cleared up many muddy waters and given me joy to be serving God in the ways I am. If you would like to read it, you can find a copy on the Matthias Media website (http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/the-good-life-in-the-last-days).
Lucinda is a stay-at-home mum and Girls Brigade leader. She enjoys reading, cooking, and playing the violin in between chasing a mischievous one-year-old.
Lucinda’s previous articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/lucinda-glover.html
Lucinda is a mum to two little girls. She loves baking, reading, and sewing.