by Tommy Davis
Upon entering graduate school at Tennessee Temple University, I would learn some interesting things relative to some of our historic figures. Saint Patrick’s Day is upon us, and I deem it necessary to highlight the reason for his influence. Like many in our day, I had no idea how much of a saint he was.
Saint Patrick wasn’t born in Ireland as some suppose. He was a British missionary to Ireland. Patrick was kidnapped at the age of 16 by an Irish chieftain and spent at least six years as a slave in Ireland, which was then a spiritually desolate Celtic land. He gave his life to Christ while a slave tending his master’s livestock on an Irish hillside. After those six years, Patrick escaped to Britain and then went to a monastic school in France, where he studied for about 12 years. About the year 432, then about 43 years old, Patrick reportedly saw a vision of the spiritual need in Ireland, and felt a call from God to return to the place of his slavery.
Patrick was no stranger in taking risks. In his autobiographical, Confessions, the only remaining writing of Patrick, he wrote, “I must take this decision disregarding risks involved and make known the gifts of God and his everlasting consolation.”
He did return to Ireland and spent the rest of his life there as a missionary. His preaching was powerful. He even used the Shamrock (three leaf clover) in sermon illustrations to explain the relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (the Trinity). His ministry was so successful that the Irish now claim him as their own. This is what it means to do missions.
I am reminded of my own experience as a 16 year-old inmate (now 42) currently working in the very jail I was incarcerated in. Even though I wasn’t kidnapped, I was arrested as a kid and hauled off to jail due to my own sins. I would eventually yield to Christ. Thus, I responded to God’s call to go back to jail as a missionary to make known the gifts of God and his everlasting consolation. I will be forever grateful of this saint and his legacy on Saint Patrick’s Day more so than the “Leprechaun” sent to replace him.
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