But I implore those God-fearing believers who agree to read or accept this document which the unlettered sinner Patrick composed in Ireland, that none of them will attribute to an ignorant person like me any little thing that I have done, or any guidance I may have given according to God’s will. Consider, and let it be truly believed, that it may have been rather the gift of God.
- Patrick, Confession, British, 5th century
But “he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
- 2 Corinthians 10.17, 18
Near the end of his life, after many years of faithful, fruitful ministry, Patrick was being recalled to Britain by the very bishops who tried to prevent his going to Ireland in the first place.
A charge had been made that Patrick’s motives for going among the Irish were strictly pecuniary, and he was commanded to return and render an accounting of his ministry. The idea that Patrick was making a fortune converting illiterate, pagan Irish men and women to Christ was laughable.
Patrick wrote his Confession as a defense of his ministry and an explanation for why he could not leave Ireland to return to Britain.
Well, of course, he refused their demand. Too busy, he said. Plus, there was no substance to the charges, and they knew it, and if they didn’t, he could produce an endless line of witnesses who would vouch for the purity of his motives.
Patrick did not regard himself as, in the first instance, accountable to bishops and other clergy in Britain – or beyond Britain. He was the Lord’s servant and steward, and he must be faithful to the Lord’s calling and will.
Patrick’s Confession was his attempt to satisfy the demands of the British bishops – for an accounting of his ministry – without having to quit the field to which the Lord had called him, and which he would not leave without some clear word from Him. This brief document tells the remarkable story of how a high school drop-out and runaway slave was used of God in the most unlikely of places to spark a revival that lasted nearly four centuries and changed Ireland, Scotland, and Europe for Christ and His Kingdom. Throughout his Confession, Patrick is careful to keep Jesus in the center, to make clear His involvement in everything Patrick had done.
But toward the end of his Confession, Patrick must have felt a little embarrassed, for his story is one of the most amazing and compelling in the annals of Church history. So his last lines, quoted above, were an emphatic attempt to deflect any credit from himself and to make God the sole object of anyone’s admiration.
God gave Patrick the calling and gifts for ministry, and He gave the people of Ireland the gift of Patrick for nearly 60 years. Patrick was but a steward of the opportunity, and God did the rest.
And oh, what God did with that humble, faithful servant!
How about us? Patrick went to Ireland believing this was the mission field to which Jesus had sent him. Each of us has been sent like Patrick and Jesus (Jn. 20.21) and called to a Personal Mission Field as well, where the Lord expects us to spread the Good News of His Kingdom by our lives and words (2 Cor. 10.13-18).
Are we being good stewards of this calling? Do we appreciate the gift we have been given, of eternal life in Christ, and of a calling from God the Father? Are we working faithfully, day by day, to develop the mission field to which God has sent us? Do the people in our lives regard us as God’s gifts to them?
Is the Kingdom of God advancing in and through us unto righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit (Rom. 14.17-19)?
You may regard your Personal Mission Field as small and not likely to bear much fruit for the Kingdom. And every time you think that, remember Patrick. You are God’s gift to the people in your Personal Mission Field, and God will give you all the gifts you need to fulfill His calling.
1. If you have not mapped out your Personal Mission Field, watch this brief video (click here), download the worksheet, and get started today.
2. If you are working your Personal Mission Field, call on the Lord to make you His gift to all the people you will see or talk with today.
Psalm 145.13, 14, 18-21 (Brother James’ Air: How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place)
Your Kingdom ever more shall be; You reign forever, Lord!
Your works You do so faithfully, according to Your Word.
The falling You uphold and the oppressed You rescue, Lord.
Be near to all who call on You; all those who fear You, bless.
Preserve all those whose love is true; save us in our distress.
Our mouths will speak with praise of You; Your holy Name we’ll bless.
Help me, O Lord, to be faithful in showing Your truth and love to the people around me. Make me Your gift to others today, and I will…
We pray that, if Crosfigell ministers to you, you’ll consider sharing with us in the financial support of our ministry. 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. 108.