And so, tirelessly, I thank my God, Who kept me faithful on the day I was tried, so that today I might offer to Him, the Lord Christ, the sacrifice of my living soul.
- Patrick, Confession, Irish, 5th century
My soul longs, even faints
For the courts of the LORD;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young –
Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
My King and my God.
- Psalm 84.2, 3
In this part of his Confession, written toward the end of the 5th century, Patrick referred to his decision to go back to Ireland, having escaped from there after six years of slavery back to his home in the west of Britain. He was not an educated man, and he had no experience in the work of ministry. But Ireland beckoned, and Patrick struggled to know what to do.
In a dramatic vision, the Lord had called Patrick to return to Ireland; but his family protested, and his pastors were not keen on the notion. He “was tried” because he felt inclined to please his family and obey his pastors, rather than follow the clear calling of the Lord.
What to do?
Patrick offered up his soul – mind, heart, conscience – as a sacrifice to the Lord, and he made preparations for the only next step that was clear to him – go to Ireland.
Like a bird on the altar, Patrick preferred to be a living sacrifice to God rather than a lifelong slave to his own comfort or the opinions and desires of men (Rom. 12.1, 2). He could not have known all that his commitment would require of him. He had only been shown the next step.
Patrick followed God to the next step, and the next, and the next, for sixty years of fruitful, revival-inciting ministry.
God calls each of us to do the same. Not necessarily to go to the “mission field” in some distant place, or to ignite a revival, but to yield our souls to Him for whatever next step His Kingdom-and-glory calling may require. We have our own Personal Mission Fields, and God sends each us there each day as living sacrifices, to spend and be spent for the souls of others and the progress of Christ’s rule on earth as it is in heaven.
We can always find “good reasons” why we shouldn’t invest more of ourselves in the work of the Lord: There’s not enough time. We don’t want to seem fanatical. We’re neither educated nor trained. Our spouse or children may object, pastors aren’t encouraging, and on and on.
But none of this negates the fact that you have a Personal Mission Field, and God calls you to seek and serve Him in it, every day of your life.
Seek the Lord first thing each morning, reading and meditating in His Word, and waiting on Him in prayer. Offer your soul up to Him as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12.1, 2) for whatever next step He may show you. He will guide you into your Personal Mission Field, and His Spirit will be with you in it, to empower you for the Kingdom work He has prepared for you that day.
God is calling us to seek His Kingdom, make disciples, build His Church, do everything for His glory, and turn our world rightside-up for Jesus. Other voices – within our souls and without – try us and tempt us to excuse ourselves from obedience to the clear teaching of Scripture.
But, like Patrick, we must heed the revelation of God rather than any voice that may try to discourage us from serving Him.
God will use us for His glory when we give ourselves as living sacrifices to Him every day.
1. What will it mean for you to offer your soul as a sacrifice to God?
2. What next steps will allow you to be a living sacrifice in your Personal Mission Field today?
Psalm 84.1-4 (Holy Manna: Brethren, We Have Met to Worship)
Lord of hosts, how sweet Your dwelling;
how my soul longs for Your courts!
Let my soul with joy keep telling
of Your grace forever more.
Like a bird upon the altar
let my life to You belong.
Blessed are they who never falter
As they praise Your grace with song!
Lord, here am I; send me! I want to be used for the work of Your Kingdom today as I…
Resources for Your Mission Field
Each week we offer a new “next step” for working your Personal Mission Field. Our Personal Mission Field Workshop gives you the opportunity to read or listen, and to take up one new practice a day as you launch into your calling. Check out this week’s Personal Mission Field Workshop by clicking here.
Perhaps you’d like to follow Patrick, as he recounts his own ministry in his Confession. Listen to Volume 1, Number 3 of The InVerse Theology Project by clicking here.
We thank God for you all!
Susie and I daily give thanks for all our readers. It is our privilege, together with the Board and Brothers of The Fellowship of Ailbe, to serve you with resources designed to enhance your life in the Kingdom of God. The Lord meets our needs by moving those we serve to share with us by their gifts and prayers. If the Lord moves you to give, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Da Paor, p. 102.