They ran out of food, and hunger weakened them, and the next day the captain addressed me: "What's this, Christian? You say your God is great and powerful."
- Patrick, Confession (British, 5th century)
"If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."
- John 4.10
In the story Patrick is recounting, he and the ship hands with whom he has sailed from Ireland have landed on a barren place. No food or water for days. Suddenly the captain, exasperated, turns on Patrick and says, in essence, You've been jabbering on about how great your God is; get Him to get us some food!
These are the same people who would shortly sell Patrick into slavery again. So Patrick prays in front of them, and suddenly - wild pigs! Go figure.
The point of this is that Patrick has been a slave in Ireland for six years. He has only recently confessed faith in God and determined to obey Him. He runs away from his owner, finds his way to this ship of blackguards and ne'er-do-wells, and pesters them continuously with his witness about the Lord.
You might be a Christian if you love the Lord and have so much confidence in Him that you don't fear to talk about Him openly, eagerly, even boastfully to the meanest and most vulgar people you know.
Patrick became a great missionary and bishop because, from the get-go, he devoted his life to a great God. Once he decided to follow Jesus, there was no turning back. His life became a headlong rush to greater adventures and risks in serving King Jesus. He talked about Jesus as naturally as Jesus talked about Himself. And when you do that, you can be sure that something really supernatural and eternal has lodged Himself in your soul.
How I long for more of this life in myself! Patrick was unschooled - I've been to seminary! Patrick had no support in his ministry; he paid his own way. I look around my office now and I'm quite certain I have more earthly possessions on my desk than Patrick had through all the course of his ministry.
Friends, God has blessed us so abundantly! Are we blind to His greatness, or are we cowed by our unbelieving age? If our vision of our exalted Savior and King were as clear and compelling as Patrick's, I'm quite sure that "gossiping the Gospel" (Michael Green) would come as readily to us as it did to him and to the first generations of the followers of Christ.
Pray that it will be so!