“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with repentance.”
- Acts 26.19, 20
...while it was not of my own choice that I arrived in Ireland at that time when I was almost a lost soul, it was a good thing for me, because I was reformed by the Lord and He prepared me to be today what was once so remote from me; so that, whereas once I did not even consider my own salvation, now the salvation of others is my care and concern.
- Patrick, Confession, Irish, 5th century
Like the Apostle Paul, Patrick’s life was dramatically turned around by a heavenly vision.
After six years of slavery followed by an arduous escape and return home, Patrick received a vision in which he saw a man from the land of his former captivity, pleading with him to come and walk among them again. He decided that this was a calling from the Lord and determined to go back and serve his former captors.
He was “almost a lost soul” when he returned to Ireland, as he put it, where he prepared for the work that would occupy 60 years of his life.
God does not often speak in heavenly visions these days, but His Word is clear enough: “As the Father has sent Me, so I am sending you” (Jn. 20.21). As with Patrick and Paul, God is seeking to reform our lives according to the pattern of Christ, and to prepare us for the work He has in mind for each one of us. But, like Paul and Patrick, we must submit to the reforming and preparing work of His Word and Spirit and go in obedience into the mission field He has determined for us.
Paul and Patrick were mightily used of God, because they heeded His call, embraced their mission field, and worked faithfully to proclaim the Good News of Jesus and to make disciples of those who believed. They provide the model for each of us. God is calling us to the fields, now white to be harvested. But we must be transformed. We must be equipped. We must be made ready for the great work of proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom.
And we must be willing to go.
How will you take up His calling this week? Today?
Psalm 66.13-16 (Regent Square: “Angels from the Realms of Glory”)
To Your house we come with off’rings, what we vowed, Lord, help us do.
O, receive our praise and homage as we give ourselves to You.
Come and listen, all who fear Him: hear what this great God can do!
Let me hear You speaking from Your Word, O Lord, and make me, like Paul and Patrick, ready to be reformed, prepared, sent, and used for Your Kingdom and glory.