A Day More About Missions than Green Beer

Today, of course is St. Patrick’s Day.

Nancy intends to cook up a pot of corned beef and cabbage before the day is out. She got some Guinness Stout for the occasion also. My mouth is watering already, even though I just finished lunch not too long ago.

Nothing wrong with any of those aspects of the day, in moderation of course, but how much we will have missed the point if we do not acquaint ourselves with the man behind the day, St. Patrick, called by some the patron saint of Ireland.

Mark Driscoll has an excellent post on him entitled St. Patrick: One of the Greatest Missionaries Who Ever Lived.

Let me whet an appetite of a different kind with this pull quote from the post by the man whose family used to go by O’Driscoll:

In faith, the forty-something year-old Patrick sold all of his possessions, including the land he had inherited from his father, to fund his missionary journey to Ireland. He worked as an itinerant preacher and paid large sums of money to various tribal chiefs to ensure he could travel safely through their lands and preach the gospel. His strategy was completely unique, and he functioned like a missionary trying to relate to the Irish people and communicate the gospel in their culture by using such things as three-leaf clovers to explain the gospel. Upon entering a pagan clan, Patrick would seek to first convert the tribal leaders and other people of influence. He would then pray for the sick, cast demons out of the possessed, preach the Bible, and use both musical and visual arts to compel people to put their faith in Jesus. If enough converts were present he would build a simple church that did not resemble ornate Roman architecture, baptize the converts, and hand over the church to a convert he had trained to be the pastor so that he could move on to repeat the process with another clan. Patrick gave his life to the people who had enslaved him until he died at 77 years of age. He had seen untold thousands of people convert as between 30-40 of the 150 tribes had become substantially Christian. He had trained 1000 pastors, planted 700 churches, and was the first noted person in history to take a strong public stand against slavery.

For the rest of an intriguing and to-the-point mini-education on this giant of church history click here.

Before the day is out, take a peek. Give thanks for a gospel-inflamed heart of the past like this one. Ask God to raise up others like it in our generation for His glory, the good of the church, and the joy of the nations.

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