St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, and no, I’m not Irish. (Well, maybe just a little bit.) I’m also not hoping for a bit of luck or to find a leprechaun or a pot of gold. Instead, my love of this holiday comes from the true history behind it.
St. Patrick was an amazing missionary for God, but his life didn’t start off easy. Kidnapped at 15-years-old, around 400 A.D., Patrick was taken to Ireland as a slave. Even though his family loved God and served him, Patrick had hardened his heart against God.
During his slavery, Patrick started to think about all he’d been taught as a child. In Ireland, Patrick witnessed a country ruled by warlords and druids. Seeing the darkness reminded him of the light of God’s truth he had known.
While in Ireland, Patrick turned to God. And, years later, a dream—given by God—guided him to escape. Yet when Patrick was back home he could not get the Irish people, and their need for God, off his mind. The warlords and druids followed many evil practices, and they needed faith in Christ.
Then one night Patrick had a dream. There was a man who’d come from Ireland with a whole bunch of letters. Patrick opened up one of the letters and it said ‘The Voice of the Irish.’ And then he heard a voice coming out of this letter that said, ‘Holy boy, please return to us. We need you.'” Was this God’s way of speaking, asking him to return to a place of slavery? Patrick believed so.
Patrick returned to Ireland and shared a message of freedom through Christ Jesus. Many people believed and turned from their wicked ways! Patrick’s ministry lasted 29 years. He baptized over 120,000 Irishmen and planted 300 churches. Later he wrote this poem:
Christ be within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
With all he’d experience Patrick truly understood that all he’d accomplished was only possible with Christ alone.
So remember, St. Patrick’s Day is not just about wearing green, going to parades or eating green food. Instead, it’s a reminder that each of us need to be willing to go into hard places to share Jesus with those who need hope, truth, and eternal salvation!
The best part is we don’t go alone. Christ is within, behind, and before us wherever we go!
Did you know this true story about St. Patrick? How does it inspire you to share Christ with others?