Who Was the Real St Patrick?

Green rivers, green beer, and goofy green hats, is that all there is to St Patrick’s Day, or is there more?

Fifteen hundred years ago Ireland was an idol-worshiping, slave-trading nation of savage pagans. In just one generation Ireland was transformed into a godly nation known for its scholars and missionaries. In his best-selling book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill writes that this national transformation was primarily the work of one man—Patrick.

When Patrick was a teenager in Britain, he was captured by pirates and forced into slavery in Ireland. During this time he had a life-changing encounter with the Lord.

After six years of cruel slavery, he escaped and returned home, but he soon received a divine call to return to minister to those who had enslaved him. In a vision, he heard one of his captors say, “We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and walk again among us.” Can you imagine being called to minister the love of Jesus to the very people who had enslaved you for six years? Patrick responded to that vision and returned to Ireland to preach the gospel.

Shouldn’t disciples make a positive impact on their communities? Is it actually possible to disciple a nation?

During his 30 years of missionary work in Ireland, Patrick helped establish more than 700 churches and schools and trained more than 3000 ministers, many of whom went as missionaries to Scotland, England, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. Patrick’s schools became some of the most important learning institutions in Europe during the Middle Ages, but his ministry went beyond just church work. He also helped transform government and reform laws that brought the end of slavery in Ireland.

The real St Patrick did more than wear green hats, drink green beer, and sponsor parades. So, instead of merely wearing green, why not celebrate St Patrick’s Day the way Patrick would, by MAKING DISCIPLES?

Happy St Patrick’s Day.

Exerted and edited from WikiChurch.

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© 2012 Steve Murrell

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