A long, long time ago in …no wait that’s an entirely different story. Last year as I was working on furthering my theological education one of the classes I took had each student write an obituary of sorts. The goal of the assignment was to write a short biography of one’s life and ministry thinking forward to how one would like to end the race. As God’s providence would have it, I have been giving more thought to such things lately as I have been confronted repeatedly with evidence that I am not as young as I was or think I am now. So, I dug up that old assignment gave it a little tweak here and there to present it to you in the hopes you likewise consider how you might purpose to spend your present life in service to our Risen Lord.
Prior to his Salvation William “Andy” Lynch was self-focused, selfish, full of himself, looking only to please him while seeking to accomplish his goals. All of that changed in 2003 when he was deployed to Kuwait/Iraq to take part in what was to become Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was at this point in his life that Lynch began to look to God’s Word for answers and by God’s kind providence a Christian man was introduced into his life. This man remembered only as Crockett later in Lynch’s life was the one God used to evangelize him, resulting in his salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Upon his return from Iraq, Lynch found a local church in which he could be instructed in his new found faith. It was during this time that Lynch learned his first lesson of the Christian and patience; for it was then he discovered his own wife had been converted two years previous. She served as an after the fact example as he learned of her own prayers for his conversion during those two years, patiently awaiting the Lord’s response. This lesson was to be tested very early in Lynch’s new life as he and his family were relocated away from their new church home after a period of only three years. The following years became increasingly difficult as Lynch and his family searched for Christian fellowship and a place to continually be nourished by the faithful teaching of God’s Word.
It was this period of discouragement the Lord used to increase Lynch’s faith and to call him into full-time pastoral ministry. After recognizing this call upon his life, Lynch endeavored to demonstrate the steadfastness he was learning by completing theological training at two different seminaries in order to be equipped to serve a local church located off the beaten path. To this end the Lord prepared a place for him in the American state of Utah.
During the course of a thirty-five year ministry Lynch encountered both highs and lows. The highs included the marriage of his children and the subsequent addition of grandchildren to his family. Likewise, the spiritual highs included the salvation and baptism of many from the communities surrounding the church, as well as the relocation of the church from a facility rented weekly to a building and grounds owned by the church. During these times it was easy to demonstrate and model steadfastness.
Of course, there were also lows such as the constant assertions of an increasing post-Christian world that Christ was not necessarily the only path to Heaven and its demands the church change its doctrinal positon on this point or be excluded from the local community. The refusal of Lynch and the Board of Elders to accommodate this change resulted in a no small controversy stretching to the far reaches of Tooele County.
Years later when asked how he had managed to remain steadfast and not capitulate on this key point of the Christian faith Lynch responded by explaining two influences upon his life which originated in his early ministry and seminary days. The first was Matthew Waymeyer, his first Pastor and later his advisor at The Master’s Seminary. He recalled often the time Pastor Matt stood in front of Community Bible Church and told them if stopped teaching them the Bible they should leave, even in the middle of a worship service demonstrating the high view he had of God and His Word. The second was Ray Mehringer who had served as Lynch’s first advisor at seminary and later as friend and trusted counselor. It was Ray who served as Lynch’s primary example of how godly men stick together in the defense of the faith and the training of the next generation of Believers and church leaders. These two men along with countless others served to shape the steadfast determination Lynch demonstrated in order to remain faithful to the true identity and exclusivity of Jesus which bore fruit both in his own life and in the lives of those whose souls he pursued for the Kingdom.
At the end of his earthly life, Lynch had the privilege of serving the same local church for thirty-five years. He was able to see the Lord grow that little church from a congregation of twenty into two-hundred twenty. Maybe that doesn’t seem like much to some, however, that same congregation also faithfully planted five other churches in the region – each with a team of leaders with the steadfast determination to see the Gospel faithfully preached as Lynch had modeled.
Many of the things I have written in this obituary have not yet come to pass. For instance, my children have not yet married nor had children of their own. The church I serve has not yet had the opportunity to move into a facility which it owns. Although I have had to face folks who are upset about the doctrine and direction of church none have been so bold as to demand the church change its doctrinal postion(s). Likewise, God has not grown the church to the point of breaking fifty members much less over two hundred with the ability and drive to plant other churches. And of course, I have not served this precious local congregation for thirty-five years (yet).
However, what this “obituary” does in my life is remind me of my dependence on the Lord and His plan for this portion of His flock. It also prompts me to pray specifically for the salvation of the lost that they may be added to the church, the opportunities and ability to demonstrate patience in the pursuit of God’s plan, and that I not get hung up on having a “brag-worthy” life – just a faithful one.