If you read the story of St. Patrick, you will find that at age 16 he was kidnapped and taken to a land he did not know — Ireland. Now he could have been angry, despondent and eventually given in to defeat; but Patrick did not do this. He became an overcomer as he persevered in his trials and tribulations.
He was taken and told to tend the sheep. It was there that he prayed, grew in his faith, and walked in love. What do we do when we find ourselves in captivity? We can stay in it or choose the latter.
The history about St.Patrick goes on to tell us that he did get away on a ship to return once again to his homeland, but he was different then. (Although he made his mark by introducing Christianity to Ireland in the year 432, Patrick wasn’t Irish himself. He was born to Roman parents in Scotland or Wales in the late fourth century.) He had found Christ in Ireland through his prayers. Later, he heard the voice of God to return to the very place of evil where he was held captive. Patrick went on to become a Bishop. While he was living in Ireland he taught about the trinity by using the three-leaf clover.
There is a lost and dying world wherever we are planted. Do we hear the call of their captivity? Can we enter that place of darkness from which we too were once enslaved? Can we hear the lost crying out for help?
We are not all called to be in the five-fold ministry or to be a missionary to a foreign land; but we are all called to be witnesses and to evangelize. The Lord puts people in our paths every day, if we are looking; or we can pray and ask Him to place someone in our sphere of influence.
I may like to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, but more than that I want to know the history of why we celebrate this holiday. This man was a hero; he changed a nation. He lived out his faith. He had a message; and like Patrick, maybe we can tell his testimony to our family and friends and spark a new meaning in that holiday for them.
If we think about it, most of us would either be angry or depressed if we found ourselves having been kidnapped and never knowing if we would see our loved ones again. Patrick, even though he was a teenager when he was captured, had allowed Christ to change his heart so completely, that he felt compassion for the people who made him a slave. Once he had gotten away from them, he could have stayed away, but God had a different plan for him.
Obedience is better than sacrifice, the Bible says in 1 Samuel 15:22b: “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.'”
Patrick heard the call and he knew these people were without hope. Freedom in Christ means we can and should find our place of ministry and it should involve passing on the good news to someone whether it is our youth or adults.
St. Patrick ministered in Ireland for 29 years, baptized over 100,000 people and built 300 churches. If we can get it in our minds that we can be world-changers too, by ministering to others, either bringing them to the Lord or helping others grow in their faith, then we will also have a legacy to pass on.