Well, it is St. Patrick’s Day once again. Time to break out the green and eat some corned beef. I have celebrated this holiday all of my life, yet never once have I understood why. I decided to inform myself on the life of St. Patrick. While doing this I learned something fascinating. I will share what I learned in just a minute. Like most religious holidays, people remember the tradition yet forget the reason. St. Patrick was a Christian missionary so I can relate well to him. As a missionary, one must be very flexible and creative in sharing the Gospel. You have to take the teachings of the Gospel and make them understandable for the people. Jesus did this when He taught. He used well water to explain living water. He used grain to explain His death, burial, and resurrection. He also used wheat and tares to explain the difference between true followers of God and the false ones. He used bread to explain the bread of life. He used things that the people understood to explain spiritual truths. He calls us, genuine Christians, His followers, to do the same. We are to be wise as serpents when sharing with others. St. Patrick was a man who answered the call and followed Jesus’ teachings. He was kidnapped as a slave and taken to Ireland. He escaped to England, was trained as a missionary, and then dedicated the rest of his life to serving the people who kidnapped him. He brought the Gospel to Ireland. I did not know the significance of the clover (shamrock) and where it fit into the equation. I was always told that it was a sign of good luck and that was all. I discovered that St. Patrick used the shamrock (its 3 cloves) to explain the Gospel. Shamrocks were everywhere and people understood them because they had grown up surrounded by them. St. Patrick explained how God is a triune being (3 in 1) by using the shamrock. The people understood and embraced the Gospel. The entire country was transformed because one person took a leap of faith and obeyed God by taking the Gospel to them and explaining It in a way that they could understand.
What about you, have you answered God’s call to preach the Gospel to all creation? Maybe you need to accept the Gospel in your own life first. If you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day correctly, do not practice the deeds of darkness, but instead the deeds of light.
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5)
Many people use St. Patrick’s Day as an occasion to indulge in the deeds of the flesh:
- sexual immorality
Those who practice these things have nothing to do with God or St. Patrick, who was a man of God. If you really want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day correctly then you need to practice:
Do you practice self-control or are you controlled by things such as alcohol, foul language, immoral thoughts, etc.? If you are a child of God then you have the power to overcome sin and its temptations and desires. If you do not have the power to say NO to these things, then you need to accept Christ as your Lord and Master, as well as you Savior. He offers this power to His followers.