Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath
By Amy Gentry

                Have you ever wondered why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  In my house, the first one awake waits for a victim to come down the hallway without the color green displayed somewhere on their body so they can deliver a pinch to the offender.   In Chicago, they color the river that runs through downtown green.  Some restaurants have green food and drinks and a creepy looking leprechaun appears on most St. Patrick’s Day signs.  I don’t really think that these traditions adequately express the value behind this day on the calendar.

                When I read about the life of Saint Patrick, I was so inspired about how the Lord took Patrick’s pain and gave him a passion.  I was reminded of the scripture, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3             

                Saint Patrick lived from 389-461 A.D. and at the age of 16, Patrick was enslaved in Ireland.  Patrick began to pray for his captors and for the local druid priests.  He did not have a Bible in his hands, but he had scripture in his heart.  The only other guidance he had was through prayer - so he prayed - all day, every day, throughout the day.  After six years of slavery, he had a dream that the Lord’s voice told him that he would be returning to his homeland soon and that a ship was ready for him.  Early the next morning he escaped - walking 200 miles to the sea port.  When he rejoined his family he recounted his experiences as a slave, but Patrick knew that God had allowed his slavery in Ireland so that Patrick would grow to know God more and love him in a deeper way. 

                In time he had a dream about the people of Ireland. They were asking him to walk among them again.  After that, Patrick enthusiastically decided to go back to Ireland and share with the people there the Good News about Jesus Christ.  With several years of preparation in the monasteries of France, Patrick was ordained and commissioned as a missionary to Ireland.  It was not smooth sailing there; Patrick was persecuted by local pagans.  But he said, “Daily I expect murder, fraud, or captivity, but I fear none of these things.  I have cast myself into the hands of God Almighty, who rules everywhere, as the prophet says: ‘Cast your cares upon God, and He shall sustain you.”   Ultimately, Patrick served Ireland as a missionary for Christ for forty years.  Thousands were saved and many went on to serve in the ministry as missionaries due to Saint Patrick’s influence. 

                Patrick had no idea that one day he would wear the label, ‘SAINT.’  He did not have selfish ambition or vain conceit, which in Greek means “vain glory.”  Who was he there to bring glory to?  He was there to bring glory to God!  He did not return to Ireland to make himself known, he returned to make Christ known.  He humbly considered the lives of the Irish pagans worth more than his own.  Patrick was a man who had his priorities in order.  He was more than willing to pay the cost for the salvation of the Irish people, he valued what was written in God’s Word, he prayed without ceasing, and he was a humble and committed servant. 


                CHALLENGE: Take a good long look at yourself.  What are your motives for serving those around you?  Are you looking for recognition from God or from man?  Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you just what motives lay beneath the surface.  To take it a step further, ask the Lord to reveal to you someone that you could serve anonymously.

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