The Celtic Revival: Patrick (5)
My family rejoiced at my return,
and when my tribulations they had learned,
they begged me, as a son, to stay with them
and never leave our happy home again.
And so, no doubt, I would have been content
to do, but God was pleased I should be spent
in other ways; for while I tarried there
amid my leisure, He worked to prepare
me for a larger task. There came to me
one night a vision. From across the sea
a man appeared; Victoricus was his name.
He had in his possession as he came
so many letters, and he gave me one
of them. The heading on it left me numb:
“The Voice of the Irish,” it proclaimed. As I
began to read the letter, deep in my
imagination in that moment I
could hear the voices of the people by
the wood of Foclut, which is near the sea
in western Ireland, and it seemed to me
that they were crying out, as with one voice,
“O holy servant boy, we would rejoice
for you to come and walk among us.”
- Patrick, Confession (5th century)
You arewitnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father doeshis own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
- 1 Thessalonians 2.12
God called Patrick out of His ease, safety, and leisure to return to Ireland and begin a work of God among that wild pagan people.
Needless to say, thatwas not his first choice as a calling. He had come home to a life untroubled by want or dread. But God began to make Patrick’s calling known to him. He received a vision in a dream of a man coming from the Wood of Foclut, where Patrick had been a slave. He was bearing letters from the locals – perhaps even some people Patrick would have known – asking him to come and “walk among” them again.
Patrick hesitated, so incredible did it seem to him that this might be a message from God. But an additional vision, and a season of prayer, made Patrick certain of God’s intentions for him.
Once Patrick was certain God was calling him, he didn’t hesitate. His family tried to discourage him from going. After all, he had no formal training or preparation, and they really wanted him to stay at home.
His pastors would not support the effort, either. They had their own reasons.
But God had called Patrick, as surely as He has called each of us to His Kingdom and glory, and has sent us, like Jesus, to bring His Kingdom near to the people in our Personal Mission Fields (Jn. 20.21).
Patrick knew he was called to the Irish people, to preach the Gospel up and down Ireland and help those lost souls find newness of life in Christ. As Paul might have said, Patrick was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but took up his calling from God and pursued it faithfully for decades.
God has called us to His Kingdom and glory. His Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18), and His glory is the manifestation of His gracious, powerful presence in all the everyday details of our lives (1 Cor. 10.31). God has called us as surely as He called Patrick.
But will we respond like Patrick did? Will we seek His Kingdom as our highest and overarching priority in life (Matt. 6.33)? Will we come to Him in His glory, to be transformed thereby so that we live the life of Jesus to people around us (2 Cor. 3.12-18)?
Perhaps you’re not convinced God has called you to anything other than just believing in Him, going to church, and getting involved in some Christian group or activity. But the Bible nowhere says God has called you to that. He has called you to His Kingdom and glory, and confessing Christ and joining a church and getting involved in Christian stuff are only means for the greater realization of God’s calling in every area of your life. They are not the ends for which you have been saved.
What does a walk worthy of such a high and holy calling require? As with the case of Patrick, earnest seeking in prayer, courageous faithfulness, and the willingness to spend and be spent for others in Jesus’ Name.
This is our calling. Let us receive it gladly and pursue it daily.
Psalm 116.7-14 (Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God Who Reigns Above)
Full well the Lord has dealt with me; my soul from death He delivered.
My weeping eyes, my stumbling feet, He has redeemed forever.
Forever I before His face shall walk with those who know His grace,
And dwell with them forever.
Afflicted, I believe His Word, though lying men would undo me.
What shall I render to the Lord for all His blessings to me?
Salvation’s cup I lift above and call upon the God of love
And pay my vows most truly.
You have called me, Lord, and I want to follow, so…
More on Calling
How does God call us? How can we respond to God’s call for each of us? Our book, Bricks and Rungs, can lead you to reflect on the meaning of calling and the importance of each of us taking up the calling God has for us, right where we are. Order your copy of these lively verses by clicking here.
Our Mission Partners Outreach is designed to help you identify, as Patrick did, the mission field to which God is calling you, and to equip you, working with a friend, to begin working that field fruitfully. Watch this brief video (click here), then enroll for our Mission Partners Outreach right away.
Like Patrick, we depend on the Lord to support our ministry, which He does through friends who pray for us and share their gifts with us, as the Lord leads. As you pray today, ask the Lord whether He might use you to support this work. You can do so by clicking the Contribute buttonat our website, or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Thank you.
T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.