Who was St. Patrick anyway? Many people celebrate what we call St. Patricks’ day on March 17th, and most of them don’t even really realize who “ St. Patrick” was. I know that he would not be pleased to see that many people use this day as an excuse to have parties and drink. Many Christians now know the truth about who Patrick really was, but I thought it would be fun to have a little bio about him on “his” holiday. So here’s how it went:
Patrick was born in Britain in the 4th century A.D. At this time there was great uncertainty for the Roman empire. This being the case, the Roman legions that had protected civilized Britain from invaders, now had to leave to defend themselves in other parts of the Roman empires. This left Britain wide open for attacks. The Irish pirates new this well. One day just before dawn the pirates attacked and took many people captive to be sold as slaves back in Ireland. One of those captured that day was Patrick. At the time He was about 16 years old.
Now in Ireland, Patrick was sold to miliuc of Slemich, a druid tribal chieftain. Here Patrick was given the task of a shepherd.
Though Patricks’ father was a church deacon and he was raised in a Christian home, he had never made a commitment to serve the Lord, until after he had become a slave. He said, he would pray all the time right through the day while he tended the sheep. He would always tell his fellow slaves about the Lord, which soon earned him the title “Holy Boy.”
One night Patrick had a dream in which he heard a voice saying to him “You are right to fast, soon you will be returning to your own country.” The voice of God? Most assuredly! He then had another dream in which he received a response to his first dream, where he was told “Come and see where your ship is waiting for you.”
When he was 22, Patrick escaped and traveled 200 miles to the coast of Ireland. In speaking of his long journey across Ireland he said “I turned on my heel and ran away, leaving behind the man to whom I had been bound for six years. Yet I came away from him in the power of God, for it was He who was guiding my every step for the best. And so I felt not the least anxiety until I reached the ship.” When he asked one of the men from the ship if he could be a passenger the man was upset and turned him away. As Patrick turned to leave though the man called him back and said the other men wanted him to come along on the journey.
The trip was long and included a stop on land for 28 days. When on land they ran out of food, this made the captain challenge Patrick pray to his God for food. Patrick was glad to take up the challenge and said “turn trustingly to the Lord who is my God and put your faith in Him with all your heart, because nothing is impossible to Him. On this day, He will send us food sufficient for our journey, because for him there is abundance everywhere.” after this when the men turned around, a herd of pigs was standing right in front of them, which they ate for days.
Two years later he made it home to his family who begged him to never leave again, and it seemed as if this would be the case, but one night Patrick had another dream. In his dream he seemed to hear the voice of the same men he had worked with calling him to come back. In spite of the great opposition he received from family and church leaders(who thought the druids weren’t even worth saving) Patrick decided he must go back and take the gospel to those barbaric people.
The druids were always a challenge to Patrick, as he spread the gospel across Ireland. he also taught people to read and write. The druids tried to poison him and often ambushed him at his evangelistic events. It would take much time to cover the many ways he was persecuted by the druids and others who opposed him. Including the betrayal of a close friend.
Patrick preached Christ throughout Ireland until his death on March 17th around the year 461 A.D.
So it is not leprechauns and good luck that were behind this mans life but commitment to Gods calling on his life. I have just barely scratched the surface of Patricks’ life. I encourage you to study his incredible journey.
So we don’t have to throw this holiday away, but we can celebrate the life of the man that was so beloved by the Irish people, and learn from it courage, self-denial, obedience to God and a willingness to give up all for the Lords cause. May we emulate these great character qualities for our Lord and Saviors glory! May we also remember that even though we may not travel to far distant shores, if we don’t run from cannibals in the jungle or suffer from a lack of water in the heart of the dessert to spread the gospel we are all missionaries every day. Every time we step out our doors we are faced with a world that is watching every move we make- good or bad. What are we giving them? When they look at us and judge us by our actions, words, and looks they are judging Him. The world does not understand that we are failable humans and He’s the God of the universe. We do and will make mistakes but may we check ourselves, and examine ourselves so we are not found wanting and that the world may see Him in us. May we let Him totally consume our hearts, minds, and bodies, that we can show the world that He makes a difference in our lives. May our lives shout out from the housetops- JESUS SAVES!!! I like how one song puts it that “No matter where you work or what you do from day to day every child of God is called to witness on the way” how true that is. That’s our job. That’s our calling.
So lets go! There’s a race to be run and a crown to be won. PRESS ON!!!
Happy St. Patricks Day!