The Celtic Revival: Patrick (7)
And so I thank my God untiringly,
Who on the day that I was tried kept me
within His grace, so that today I may
present unto my Lord in every way
the sacrifice of my own soul. For He
has saved me through my trials, thus causing me
to ask, “Who am I, Lord, what must I do,
that in Your majesty and mercy You
have shown Yourself to me, so that today
I magnify Your holy Name and say
among the heathen, all throughout this land,
that You alone are Lord, and in Your hand
are all our times, both good and bad?” And so
whatever comes, though good or bad, I go
in gratitude and faith to serve the Lord,
Who taught me how to find within His Word
the faith I need to follow Him, and Who
has helped me, ignorant as I am, to do
this holy work to which at last I came,
to bring the Irish to obey to His Name.
- Patrick, Confession (5th century)
What shall I render to the LORD
For all His benefits toward me?
I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the LORD.
I will pay my vows to the LORD
Now in the presence of all His people.
- Psalm 16.12-14
Patrick’s ministry in Ireland was the fruit of his gratitude to God. God had kept him during his great trial as a slave. He drew Patrick to Himself, heard his many prayers, and assured him of saving mercy and grace. He brought him safely back to his home and family. And He called Patrick to return to the Irish as an apostle of Jesus.
For all these things, Patrick never ceased to overflow with thanksgiving and praise to God.
But thanks and praise were not enough. Patrick made a sacrifice of his own soul, his entire life, to serve God in proclaiming the Gospel. In ancient Israel, when a sacrifice was offered, three things happened. First, a welcome aroma went up the Lord, and pleased Him. Second, substance for nourishing and edifying others was provided, as the one offering the sacrifice and the priests who offered it shared the offering as a meal. Third, whatever was useless and of no value, either to God or men, was taken outside the city and thrown away.
Patrick offered his soul to the Lord, and thus became a sweet aroma to Him Who had shown him such grace and mercy in his time of need. His devoting himself to God caused him to grow strong in faith, and he became the means for thousands of Irish pagans to discover forgiveness and life in Jesus. Whatever hindered these two objectives – loving God and loving his neighbors – Patrick renounced and cast away. He had received the cup of salvation from the Lord, and he drank it down, over and over, until he was drunk with Jesus. Nothing was going to hinder him from fulfilling the Lord’s calling, and nothing did.
On the first Christian Pentecost, when the Spirit of God fell on that small band of believers, assembled in an upper room for prayer, tongues of fire settled on each of them. This was the fire of God, accompanying the gift of His Spirit, leading those believers, like Patrick, to offer themselves as living sacrifices to God.
We know what happened in the book of Acts as a result of their devotion to God. We know what happened in the Celtic Revival as a result of Patrick’s devotion. Surely, we must ask, “Where is the fire of God today? Where are those living sacrifices, who are a sweet aroma to God and a blessing to their neighbors, because they drink the cup of salvation and serve Jesus with gratitude and strength?”
Like Patrick, we can find faith and direction in God’s Word, to do whatever He calls us to in following Him. But we must first devote our souls to the Lord, daily, moment-by-moment, in every situation. Let us call upon the Name of the Lord, and pay our vows of obedience to Him. It may be that God’s Spirit who saves and offers us will use us as He did Patrick, to bring a holy work to our Personal Mission Fields, so that many more people may hear the Good News and obey the Lord of glory.
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.
Lord, what shall I render to You for all Your saving mercy and grace? How can I today…
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.