Preparing for Saint Patrick’s Day
by Gene Breitenbach
Christians should party a lot more. Feast days and celebration were established by God in the Old Testament as monuments and reminders of God’s provision and character. God is the central focus of each one, surprising us time and again with the way his touch transforms the potential of a human life. We celebrate those moments throughout human history as a reminder that faith is not blind. It is built on the testimony of history and gives us a real, living hope for today. That is certainly the case with Saint Patrick.
The story of Saint Patrick is not about snakes and shamrocks. Those were all added centuries later. Instead, his life is a reminder that God’s wisdom is more powerful than our own. That God’s strategies are better than our own. It is the story of God touching a sinful youth and proving that the outreach strategy expressed by the Apostle Paul is more effective, dynamic, and exciting than any we would seek to replace it with. It is also more costly, but the return for that cost is a fierce and powerful love.
Patrick was an Englishman whose life spanned the fourth and fifth century. By his own admission he was a godless youth whose life originally disqualified him for missionary service. At age sixteen he was captured by Irish pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. An older slave shared the gospel with him, and Patrick gave his life to God.
We talk so loosely about giving our lives to God. Most often we really mean that we want God to bless our lives while we continue to pursue our desires and dreams. Patrick was a slave. His dreams were gone. He had a meager life to give God, but God had a bigger life, His life, to give Patrick. The first lesson of Christ. He isn’t interested in fair exchanges. Our life is precious to us, but it doesn’t compare with what God has in store for us…
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