A Saint's Love

March 18, 2021 — Krystal Craven
Devotional title text overlaying fingers holding a three leaved clover.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day…a day late!

I know most of the decorations surrounding St. Patrick’s Day tend to include leprechauns, shamrocks, pots of gold, and rainbows, often met with a meal of corned beef and cabbage, but there is so much more to this holiday than most people realize and such great application we can learn from Patrick.

Patrick, born in Britain, was kidnapped at the age of 16 by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. Although Patrick was raised in a Christian home, he didn’t make the decision to make Jesus his Lord and Savior until after he was living in slavery. In his autobiography Confessions, he wrote, “…the Lord opened my senses to my unbelief, so that though late in the day, I might remember my many sins; and accordingly I might turn to the Lord my God with all my heart.” As a slave, Patrick was given the task of a herdsman. It was through tending the flocks day after day, that he would pray frequently and his love and fear of God grew strong and his faith grew, even earning him the nickname “Holy Boy” among the other slaves.

Through a series of dreams, Patrick was led through an escape at the age of 22. He returned to Britain and became a priest and bishop, to later heed the call to return to Ireland, selling his title of nobility in order to leave and share the gospel to the Irish people, even the very ones who enslaved him. He later wrote, “So at last I came here to the Irish gentiles to preach the gospel…and should I prove worthy, I am ready and willing to give up my own life, without hesitation for His name.”

Patrick’s heart and mission for the Irish people was full of opposition and attempts on his life, yet he wrote, “As everyday arrives, I expect either a sudden death or deception or being taken back as a slave or some other such misfortune. But I fear none of these, since I took to the promise of heaven and have flung myself into the hands of the all-powerful God, who rules as Lord everywhere.”

Patrick journeyed throughout Ireland for the rest of his life, sharing Christ ever so faithfully until he died on March 17, around 461 AD. Even as we had talked about in last week’s devotional, Patrick understood his days were numbered and used the time he had to be used by God, making his life a living sacrifice in his service to proclaim the good news of the gospel to the people of Ireland. The Irish were known to the British as barbaric and not worthy of sharing the gospel with, but Patrick knew the heart of God was for these people and that Jesus had come that ALL might be saved and that God’s will is that none should perish but for ALL to come to repentance. (John 3:16-17; 2 Peter 3:9)

As we move from the holiday of St. Patrick’s Day moving into Palm Sunday and Easter, may our hearts be stirred to love people so deeply even to the point of forsaking our own desires, our own reputations, and even our own lives in order to fulfill the commission Jesus gave to make disciples of all nations.

God stirred Patrick to love and share the gospel with the Irish. Who has God stirred your heart for to share the gospel with?