This is the last installment of the Redeeming Saint Patricks’ Day series (see Part 1 and Part 2). To recap, Saint Patrick became a follower of Jesus as a teen, was taken captive for six years by Irish marauders, came back to Roman Britain, and soon felt the call of God to go back to pagan Ireland to preach the Gospel and make disciples. Despite opposition from Patrick’s family and friends and persecution in Ireland, Patrick continued steadfast in his pursuit of God and His purposes.
A Man on Mission
While Patrick was a man of perseverance and a man of integrity, he was also a man given to the mission, namely the Great Comission. Patrick wrote in his Confessions,
…that I might come to the Irish people to preach the Gospel and endure insults from unbelievers; that I might hear scandal of my travels, and endure many persecutions to the extent of my prison; and so that I might give up my free birthright for the advantage of others, and if I should be worthy, I am ready [to give] even my life without hesitation; and most willingly for His name. And I choose to devote it to him even unto death, if God grant it to me.
Saint Patrick emphatically lived with the mission in mind. He viewed every encounter as entirely divine. And it wasn’t as if Patrick was overly consumed with the mission. On the contrary, the mission was fueled by the Man. As Patrick testified, “I never had any reason, except the Gospel and his promises, ever to have returned to that nation from which I had previously escaped with difficulty.” Nothing but the Gospel ignited Patrick’s mission.
In the midst of trial after trial, many of Ireland came to know Jesus because of Saint Patrick. “So, how is it that in Ireland,” wrote Patrick, “where they never had any knowledge of God but, always, until now, cherished idols and unclean things, they are lately become a people of the Lord, and are called children of God…” About Patrick’s pursuit of the kingdom among a country of heathens, Jonathan Rogers writes, “he believed he was the very instrument by which God was completing human history.”
May it be so for us.