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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

At Work in Us

Just as He was in Patrick.

Patrick (8)

Because I owe so much to God. He gave
me this great boon: That through me He would save
so many heathen, who would be confirmed
as followers of Christ; that in my term
a clergy should be raised to care for them—
so many thousands of the finest men
of Ireland; and that churches by the scores
of hundreds should be built, where they adore
the Lord of glory; and that thousands should
be taught to read the Scriptures, that the good
and perfect will of God they might discern,
that they to follow Him in love might learn.

 - Patrick, Confession

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

 - Philippians 2.12, 13

The bishops in Britain may have sought to throttle Patrick’s ministry, but Patrick understood that he was not accountable to them. Since they had not sent him to Ireland—indeed, they resisted his going—he looked only to those believers already in Ireland for instruction, guidance, and accountability. And they were more than happy to have Patrick among them, and the blessings of the Lord which he brought.

Patrick here summarizes his ministry of many years. Multitudes won to Christ. Pastors and teachers trained and equipped to oversee churches and make disciples. Hundreds of churches brought into being. And many taught to read the Scriptures which were being made available from various monasteries.

And the focus of his ministry was to teach people to love the Lord and follow Him. In other words, discipleship.

Patrick understood that none of this would have been possible apart from the grace of God. God gave him all that he needed to do the work to which he had been called. And Patrick gave God all the glory for the seeds that took root and the fruit which blossomed as a result of his work.

Patrick’s was not a complicated ministry. He simply roamed about to various places in Ireland looking for ways to make inroads for the Gospel. Sometimes he purchased the freedom of those who were enslaved. Other times he taught people to read or did some other good works to help them. But all the time he kept the Good News of Jesus in the mix, making the most of every opportunity to proclaim the Gospel and call people to repentance and faith. Patrick believed he had an “obligation from the Lord/to diligently fish for men.” He went on to say 

         that all who wish to be
His followers are obliged to cast their nets
to catch a multitude of fish and get
a mighty gathering for the Lord.

And for this to happen there “should be sufficient clergy everywhere” to teach and preach and to bring people into the fold of Christ. Patrick believed the Great Commission, but he also knew that fulfilling that mandate was not he responsibility alone. So he incorporated church planting and pastoral training into his itinerating ministry. He rejoiced in the Lord,

Who rescued them according to His Word
of promise. Irish sons and daughters, yes,
and even royal children—thousands bless
the Name of Jesus.

And he wanted his readers to understand that it was only the faithfulness of God, at work within and through him, that made any of this possible. The Lord helped Patrick overcome his fears and difficulties and to persevere in his calling. And the Lord gave all the harvest that issued from his great work.

That same God is at work within us, willing and doing according to the good pleasure of God. But we, like Patrick, must be actively engaged in working out our salvation—learning, seeking the Lord, going in obedient faith, establishing and working our own Personal Mission Field, doing whatever we can in those places to which the Lord brings us to be agents of His saving and sanctifying grace.

Let Patrick’s example and God’s faithfulness encourage and empower us to do the good works for which we have been redeemed, every day, in every situation, as often as we may, and always to the praise and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Reflection
1. What opportunities for serving the Lord has He prepared for you today? How can you prepare for them?

2. What does it mean for you to “diligently fish” for people? How do you try to do this?

Psalm 71.19, 20, 23, 24 (3) (Solid Rock: My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less)
Your righteous deeds are great and true. O God, there is no one like You!
Though many troubles I have seen, You will revive my soul again!
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.


Give me boldness today, Lord, and opportunities to tell the Good News to others, and I will...

T. M. Moore

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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