PRAISE PROMPT ••• All over the world, people are celebrating the patron saint of Ireland (though technically, he’s not a saint; Patrick has never been canonized).
While many think the day is about leprechauns and green beer, the day was set aside to recognize Patrick’s missionary work as he is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.
In short, Patrick was doing his part for the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).
Patrick was born around 387 AD and was kidnapped when he was 16.
He was taken to Ireland as a slave.
During his first years of captivity, he didn’t believe in God, though he had been exposed to the Truth from his father and grandfather (a deacon and a priest, respectively).
At some point during Patrick’s enslavement, he finally turned to God.
He spent six years working as a shepherd before escaping and returning to Britain.
Years after returning home, Patrick felt God’s calling to return to Ireland to preach the Gospel.
And in so doing, we can learn a great lesson.
Patrick had every reason to say no to God’s calling.
Ireland was where he was held against his will!
This was the country he had fled as a young man!
But Patrick chose to obey.
St. Patrick embraced a “turn-the-other-cheek” (Matthew 5:39) and “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) life!
And the influence of his obedience continues today.
As one who has traced a branch of my family tree back to the 1100s in Ireland, knowing his story makes me wonder how St. Patrick’s act of obedience influenced my family.
Is it possible?
He’s largely credited with introducing Ireland to Christianity!
And as we know from his own story, his Christian father and grandfather laid the foundation for his faith, even during the years he didn’t believe in God.
It’s an example of both Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
And Proverbs 22:6, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
To wrap things up, legend connects St. Patrick with the shamrock, claiming he used it as a teaching tool to explain the Trinity.
That legend is unconfirmed.
But another belief is that St. Patrick wrote the Lorica, a traditional Irish Hymn which includes the following words:
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
With words so Christ-centered, I can’t help but think if Patrick was alive, he’d say we were focused on the wrong person.
Today, let’s praise Jesus for assigning each of us the Great Commission.
Thank Him for the influence it has on the people who hear it and generations to come.
Because it’s not on their strength or authority!
Praise our Heavenly Father for giving willing hearts to help spread the Gospel and Good News of Jesus!
Thank Him for the work St. Patrick did and the generations who know Jesus because of it.