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Patrick's Burden and Claim

Our burden and claim as well.

Patrick (3)

And so, I take it as a measure of
my faith in God and in His Triune love
that, not regarding danger, I made known
God’s gift and the eternal peace His own
may have as He provides; and that I spread
His Name throughout this land, from foot to head,
both dutifully and without fear.  And thus
I have a legacy of those who trust
the Lord—so many thousands of my sons
and brothers—whom by laboring I have won
to Him and baptized in His holy Name.
This is my burden, and my only claim.

 - Patrick, Confession

For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

 - 1 Corinthians 15.9, 10

Patrick has just finished relating his faith and trust in God in a lengthy section laced with Scripture. His purpose is twofold.

First, he declared the faithfulness of God, Who kept him through his time of folly and trial and blessed him abundantly during his exile and ministry. He will provide more details a bit later, but for now, he wants his readers to be clear that it was God Who brought him to Ireland—both as a slave and later as a minister of the Word. His confession of faith at this point is entirely orthodox, joyful in the sovereignty of God, and focused on Christ as Redeemer, Savior, and Lord, Whose heavenly Father

awarded Him all power in earth and heaven.
For everything to Jesus has been given,
that every knee should bow and every tongue
confess, of things on earth and things among
the dead and in the heavens, that He is Lord
and God, and they should all obey His Word.

Second, Patrick offers a summary of his ministry—his burden and legacy. He had been intending “for quite some time” to put this in writing, but only now, with pressure from the clergy in Britain, was he able to do so. He hesitated to this point because he did not want to appear, by his writing, to be an uneducated man. He did not write Latin all that well, since Irish, he explained, was his “native tongue.” So he put off the task until he seemed to have no choice. He declared that, going forward, he would do the best he could to put his Confession into acceptable language, trusting God to make his burden clear:

For even rustic backwardness has been
created by the One Who made all men.

God, Patrick continued, abased him by bringing him as a slave to Ireland; now, however, He “lifted” him to a high place in ministry. So he would write his Confession less to justify himself and his ministry and more to celebrate the goodness and faithfulness of God. He hoped his report would suffice to meet the demands being laid on him by British bishops:

So be astonished, all of you, the small
and great alike, who fear the Lord. And you,
most reverend doctors, listen closely to
my words, and pay attention. Who raised me—
yes, stupid me—unto this ministry,
from out of those who seemed to be so wise
and skilled in rhetoric and law? Whose eyes
with favor looked on me and burdened and
prepared me for my mission to this land,
and brought me here to be of service to
this people, in humility and truth?

In other words, “Bishops, if you have a problem with me, take it up with God. He humbled me, saved me, kept me, called me, sent me, and used me so that ‘many thousands’ of Irish men and women have come to know the Lord and are worshiping and serving Him.”

Patrick’s burden was to proclaim the Name of Jesus. His claim was that God honored his work and glorified Himself in it.

This was Paul’s claim and burden as well. Such should be the burden and legacy of every believer and follower of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Reflection
1. What opportunities will you have this week to proclaim the Name of Jesus? How should you prepare for these?

2. How would you explain the burden God has put on you—your calling or service in His Name?

Psalm 71.17, 18, 23, 24 (3) (Solid Rock: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
O LORD, I praise Your righteousness Who me from youth have taught and blessed.
Forsake me not when I am old, ‘til I Your mercies all have told!
Refrain v. 3
A Rock of habitation be; command Your Word to rescue me;
my Rock and Fortress ever be!

My lips with joy and praises ring; to You, Redeemer, praise I bring!
I praise Your goodness all day long; LORD, humble all who do me wrong.

Thank You, for calling me to be Your witness. Help me today as I…

Patrick’s Legacy
You can read more about the impact of Patrick’s ministry in our book, The Legacy of Patrick. Here you’ll learn how Patrick’s work has affected generations of Christians down to our own day. Order your copy by clicking here.

Support for Crosfigell comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

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.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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