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

A Vessel of the Lord

Patrick was, and so are we.

Patrick (17)

So I reiterate what I to men
I would say in this my declaration: I
declare in truth and joy of heart, and by
the Name of God and all His angels, I
have never had a reason, save that by
the Gospel and its promises declared,  
to come back to this people, whom I dared
to flee. And I implore all those who fear
the Lord, and who agree to read or hear
this document, that, when you read it, you     
would not in any way attribute to
this ignorant man a single one of all
the things that have been done, or any call
or guidance that to me was given by
the will of God. Instead, believe that I
have been a vessel of the Lord, and He
has wrought these works and shown His gifts to me.
This is the truthful testimony I
declare to all of you before I die.

 - Patrick, Confession

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us… For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

 - 2 Corinthians 4.7, 15

Patrick was chagrined to have to write this Confession. Those ecclesiastical authorities who were seeking to recall him had used specious grounds to humiliate him into submitting to their will. Undoubtedly, their effort was known to more people than just Patrick. Many of his closest associates—whom we will meet in subsequent installments—would have heard about the recall effort. There would have been no question in their minds as to the speciousness of the claims being made. They knew Patrick and loved him, and they may have encouraged him in writing this defense of his ministry.

But he was not comfortable writing about himself, both because he was not adept at Latin and he did not want to appear to be detracting from the glory of God by reporting on his ministry.

So here at the end, Patrick reiterated that his only reason for being in Ireland was because God had called him to “come back to this people” and proclaim the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom. His final request to those “who agree to read or hear this document” was that they might not attribute any good work to him, since all guidance and ability and fruit of his labors was from the Lord alone.

Patrick rightly understood himself to be “a vessel of the Lord”. God, he knew, had made, fashioned, and called him. He would fill him. He would transport him here and there as a vessel and agent of grace to show and tell the love of Jesus to the pagan peoples of Ireland. He would bring forth whatever fruit was pleasing to Him. Patrick’s only responsibility was to be available, be prepared, and be courageous in obeying his calling from the Lord.

He fulfilled his calling with such faithfulness that he became the catalyst for a revival of Christian faith that engulfed Ireland, swept over Scotland and Wales, crossed the English Channel to Gaul (France), Switzerland, the German lands, and Northern Italy, and remained spiritually vibrant for nearly 400 years.

The people of Patrick’s day recognized the hand of the Lord on him, and they flocked to be a part of his great work. Patrick was the potter in God’s hand to launch the ministries of many of the great saints of the second generation of the Celtic Revival. Many of them became active and effective vessels of the Lord in carrying on the work he began.

We also have been called and sent as vessels of the Lord to spread His grace throughout our Personal Mission Field. As Patrick demonstrated, the end we seek is that the Name of God should be known, loved, praised, and obeyed by all the people to whom He sends us. We must make sure that we are daily available, committing ourselves afresh to His glory and our calling. Every day we prepare afresh, seeking the Lord and His will in His Word and committing ourselves to Him in prayer. And, leaning into the Wind of God’s Spirit, we hoist the sails of faith and launch courageously onto the uncertain waters of our world to bear the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom to everyone we can.

Can God revive us day by day? Use us to revive our fellow believers? As catalysts for a great awakening to faith? Yes, he can. If we’re willing, ready, and courageous, we will be vessels of grace for the blessing of the world and praise and glory of God.

For Reflection
1. How do you prepare each day to go out into your Personal Mission Field?

2. Do you see yourself as an agent of grace to your world? Explain.

Psalm 71.3, 14-18 (Solid Rock: My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less)
But as for me my voice I raise to sing in hope and constant praise!
With saving grace my voice will swell Your never-ending grace to tell.
Refrain v. 3
A Rock of habitation be; command Your Word to rescue me;
my Rock and Fortress ever be!

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!

Use me today, O Lord, as a vessel of Your grace, that I may…

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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