However, you have seen for yourselves how much I have paid to the administrators of justice in all the districts I was in the habit of visiting regularly. I reckon to have distributed to them no less than the price of fifteen men, so that you could continue to enjoy me, and I you, in God. I have no regret, nor have I done with it; I still spend, and will spend more.
- Patrick, Confession, Irish, 5th century
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him…
- Philippians 3.8, 9
Patrick was being accused of making himself wealthy by his ministry among the Irish. The bishops in Britain, jealous of his success, called him to come back and give an account of his ministry. But Patrick had given up home, family, and, yes, even Church to go among the Irish. And while in Ireland, he continued to give, gaining the great satisfaction of knowing that he had been faithful to the Lord’s calling.
He was so busy giving, in fact, that he excused himself from their summons and continued the work to which he had been called.
Each of us has a calling from the Lord, a Personal Mission Field which no one else can serve. For Patrick, it was Ireland. For each of us, we have our own “Ireland” which God has entrusted to us for His Kingdom. Jesus has sent you there, in the same way He was sent to earth, to embody and proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God (Jn. 20.21).
Jesus gave up divine prerogatives and, ultimately, His own life, to fulfill His calling. It was from Jesus that Patrick learned to give what cannot last to gain what will never fade.
What are we willing to give up in order to know Christ better, to identify and own our calling, and to make known our Lord and His Kingdom more consistently and effectively?
Let’s consider, first, our time. Time is a most precious gift from God, and it is God’s time, not ours. He gives it to us like the talents in Jesus’ parable, with the understanding that we will put our time to work for His glory (Matt. 25.14-30). We must be careful in how we use the time God gives us, to make the best possible investment for the Lord and His glory in the time He supplies.
Doubtless many things occupy our time which keep us from growing closer to Christ or from serving others or bearing witness to them about Him.
Television and the Internet, for example. Possessions, work, hobbies, leisure, and mere dawdling? Fear of others – that too.
Patrick liquidated his inheritance and paid his own way to Ireland, where he used his money to purchase the right to preach in various places, and to free slaves, as often as he could. He cared nothing for money, wealth, or material things. He cared very much for his time, and for making sure he used all of it to fulfill his calling.
In this regard he was like the apostle Paul, who also appears to have given up a fairly lucrative career as a member of the Jewish leadership in order to follow Christ. The problem is that, too often, we love things and settled habits more than we do the Lord or the people to whom He sends us. We hold on to those things that distract us or steal our time and attention because, whether we admit it or not, we love such things more than we should.
What’s the answer?
Give it up. Give it all up. All at once, whatever and whenever the Lord shows it to you. Give it up with joy and get on with the work of seeking the Lord and reaching out to the people around you with your new-found time and strength.
Who knows? God may use you as He used Paul and Patrick.
1. Are you holding on to anything you should give up for the Lord and the calling He has appointed for you?
2. What will you give up today to improve the work in your Personal Mission Field?
Psalm 25.1-5 (Festal Song: Revive Thy Work, O Lord)
I lift my soul to You; O Lord, in You I trust.
Let me not come to shame, nor let my foes o’er me exult.
All they who wait on You shall never come to shame;
Yet they to shame shall come who stand against Your holy Name.
Make me to know Your ways, teach me Your paths, O Lord!
My Savior, all day long I wait and seek You in Your Word.
What should I give up, Lord, so that I can give to You and others more faithfully by…
Get to know the Kingdom!
We can’t seek or enjoy what we don’t know. And we won’t be likely to give up much for the Kingdom if we don’t see the value of doing so. Our book, The Kingdom Turn, is a guide to understanding, seeking, and advancing the rule of King Jesus on earth as it is in heaven. Order your free copy by clicking here.
Please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe. Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore, Principal
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.
 Da Paor, p. 107.