Saint Patrickís Day is celebrated on March 17th. It is both a religious holiday for some Christians and a secular day of celebration. Before doing a little study into this saint, all I knew of Saint Patrickís Day came from observing the rather raucous celebrations marked by drinking large amounts green beer or other green alcoholic beverages and turning rivers green Ė and donít forget to wear green or you will get pinched. Sadly, it tends to be our human way of things to turn what began as spiritual observance into sometimes un-Christ-like partying.
The Patrick of Saint Patrickís Day lived in Britain from around 386 to 460 AD. His grandfather was a priest and his father was a deacon in the church Ė a good strong background for this future hero of the church in Ireland. However, when Patrick was in his mid-teens, he was kidnapped by pirates, sold into slavery and taken to Ireland where he spent six years in great hardship. During this time, he was of course deprived of further formal education but he did learn to rely on constant prayer. It is during times of difficulty that we learn to rely on God and consequently, those are the times that we gain the most.
During his time in slavery, Patrick heard a voice telling him to leave Ireland so he walked to a seaport and found his way back to Britain. He spent some time training for the priesthood and eventually went back to Ireland where he was a leader for Christ. He could easily have shared his experience with Godís grace through prayer. His previous lack of formal education perhaps gave him better communication skills with the common man, enabling him to communicate truth in a way that was easily understood. Have you had the experience of hearing a preacher relating biblical truths in such a way that you might need seminary education to understand?
In addition to relating the truth of Jesus Christ, Patrick was one of Christianityís first outspoken opponents of slavery. He spent his life crying out against the common practice of slavery even when no one would listen. The slave trade in Ireland eventually stopped.
This is a very short biography of Patrick. If you are interested in learning more about Saint Patrick, I urge you to do your own study into his life. From here on, I will concentrate on what his life says to me.
Education is important. All Christians should be familiar with the Bible. It is Godís word to us. Patrick had learned the basics from his father and grandfather as he grew into his teen years. Thatís where his formal education ended. In his difficult life as a slave, he learned to rely on prayer. It is imperative that all Christians develop a strong reliance on prayer. This is not just for the difficult times of life, it is a necessity in living every day.
Do you want to take your place in the cause of Christ? You may never attend a seminary or earn a degree in theology but you can study the Bible and you can spend quality time in prayer every day. God will send you the work that He has for you to do. You may not be a gifted preacher, but you can share what Jesus Christ means to you. Your words may be life-changing for someone.