What We Can Learn from St. Patrick

Monday, March 16, 2015

What is the history behind St. Patrick's Day? Who was St. Patrick and what can we learn from him? Find out who St. Patrick is and how we can learn from him today.

Recently, I was talking to Taylor about St. Patrick's day. When I couldn't tell him anything about the history of the holiday, he suggested that I look up the history of Saint Patrick, thinking I may find it interesting enough to write a post about it. And by golly, that smart man was right!

So if you would like to learn more about this Spring, shamrock-filled holiday, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading.


The History of St. Patrick

According to Kevin DeYoung's article about St. Patrick, "Patrick–whose adult life falls in the fifth century–was actually British, not Irish. He was born into a Christian family with priests and deacons for relatives, but by his own admission, he was not a good Christian growing up. As a teenager he was carried by Irish raiders into slavery in Ireland. His faith deepened during this six year ordeal. Upon escaping Ireland he went back home to Britain. While with his family he received a dream in which God called him to go back to Ireland to convert the Irish pagans to Christianity."

Patrick took the Biblical command to preach the gospel to the world (Matthew 28:19) very seriously, and his willingness to go back to the land of his captors is inspiring. It would have been easier and more comfortable for him to stay in England and live his life there. But the love that he showed by wanting to see the Irish people saved is beautiful.


Saint Patrick dedicated his entire life to sharing the gospel where he was not wanted. He decided that life wasn't about being liked or comfortable, but that sharing his true conviction was more important than an easy life.

Saint Patrick's life inspired me and got me thinking: Is there somewhere that I am not willing to go for Christ? This man could have easily said, "This is where I was enslaved! I refuse to step foot there again!". Surely this place and his time there haunted him; yet he still wanted to share Christ more than he wanted to stay in his "happy place".

Up until we moved to a town that didn't have one, we were members of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). The EPC is very big on sending missionaries to places in the Middle East where people have never heard the gospel before. Their heart is for the unreached and hard-to-reach people of the world. While I think that is fantastic, and I admire it greatly, I'm terrified of the idea of being a missionary to an area that is actively against the gospel and those preaching it. Add in the fact that my husband gets excited when he talks about the prospect of one day being a part of this mission, and I get scared-silly. Seriously: heavy-breathing, heart-pounding terrified. What if God called me to something uncomfortable and scary, like he did for Patrick? What if God said "Go to the Middle East. Go preach to a people who don't want you there." Would I go?

I'm sure St. Patrick was scared - or at least uncomfortable - about going back to his place of slavery. Even so, when God called St. Patrick, he went. And when he went, thousands came to know Jesus!

Make no mistake: I'm not insinuating that God is saying to pick the scariest place you can think of, or the most uncomfortable, and "just go". God has deeper and more well thought out plans than that. But God will sometimes call us to difficult and scary things. He will call us to things that we feel incapable of, but then He will make us capable. He will use us in ways we didn't see coming, and He will call us to obedience through it all.

He may not call us to the Middle East or back to the land that previously enslaved us, but He always calls us to live for His glory and to do so faithfully - and that call is always for our good.


  1. I don't think I'd ever learned his history before. Thanks for sharing. And that box...the comfortable one...it takes courage to step outside of it for sure.

  2. Great job! I didn't know today was st Patrick's day until I got on fb. I can't imagine how grieved he would be to see how most ppl celebrate this day.

  3. I didn't know this cool history behind the day! Its hard to go somewhere scary even if you feel called, but I hope if I ever feel that way I'll still go!