It’s St Patrick’s Day, and many will wear green to promote it. Many will celebrate, especially in cities like Savannah, Georgia (where one time they tried to dye the Savannah River green for St Patrick’s Day and it just looked like throw up instead). Many will wear green clothes, drink green beer, and celebrate a holiday and a man named St Patrick that they know little about.
But…who was St Patrick anyway? He was born Patricius in Roman Britain in the 5th century in privilege and wealth. He was remarkably serious about his Christian faith at a young age. Then, as a young man Patrick was “…taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people..” (Confessions, St Patrick) Ireland at that time was barely inhabited, crude, and barbaric, with little use for Patrick’s God or his Savior Jesus Christ. After six years of captivity and slavery, Patrick escaped back to his homeland.
After some years of both academic and spiritual growth, Patrick had a vision to return to Ireland as a Christian missionary. Initially, Patrick was not welcomed to Ireland and neither was his God. Over time, he began to make progress, but still with great challenges. Consider this,
“A rough business, this evangelism. Everywhere he went, Patrick was subject to the whims of some powerful man or another. In this scene, when one set of strong men turns on him, it is the influence of other strong men who get him out of the jam. In several places Patrick said he would count it an honor to be martyred for the cause of Christ. That was not just a vague notion, but a very real possibility.” (Rogers, St Patrick, 66)
Patrick persevered and, according to his own accounts, saw thousands converted with the Gospel of Christ in Ireland. Using a shamrock to explain the biblical concept of the Trinity and carrying his handy walking stick (legend claims it grew leaves), Patrick went all over the island to proclaim Christ.
He was the first Christian missionary to Ireland. The nation of Ireland is still largely Christian today.
So, as you think about St Patrick’s Day, and have fun with green and shamrocks, consider the real truth behind this man – his unshakeable faith in Jesus Christ. And, maybe you want to consider whether you have ever truly placed your faith and trust in Christ for forgiveness and eternal life. If not, St Patrick’s Day would be a great day for it. If you have questions about Christianity, the church, or salvation, please text the word DECISION to 334-203-9946.