I think there’s quite a bit of confusion on exactly who St. Patrick was? And why does he get his own day? When I was growing up, St. Patrick’s day meant “wear something green or get pinched.” I owned only one green piece of clothing in my whole closet and never remembered to wear it. Oh how I loved March 17 in elementary school.
I’m not going to post a long biography here of Patrick, but instead, want to refer you to Kevin DeYoung’s recent article on Who Was St. Patrick? It’s a short piece that will give you a bit of background on St. Patrick and his embrace of God’s missionary mandate.
DeYoung writes: In his Confessio Patrick writes movingly about his burden to evangelize the Irish. He explicitly links his vocation to the commands of Scripture. Biblical allusions like “the nations will come to you from the ends of the earth” and “I have put you as a light among the nations” and “I shall make you fishers of men” flow from his pen. Seeing his life’s work through the lens of Matthew 28 and Acts 1, Patrick prayed that God would “never allow me to be separated from His people whom He has won in the end of the earth.” For Patrick, the ends of the earth was Ireland.
So maybe this St. Patrick’s day, in light of who St. Patrick was, we should do more than wear green. Maybe we should embrace the mission of God and develop a few conversations about the gospel. Maybe we should, as Patrick was, become “soaked in the Bible” and grasp the glorious power of the gospel and become one who is not ashamed of it (Romans 1:16).
Jesus told us that all authority and power had been given to him. He then continued to tell us to “go and make disciple of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-19). I pray that much like St. Patrick, these truths grab our hearts and minds today and as a result, push us to develop a burden for those without Christ.
So go and celebrate St. Patrick’s day today by yearning to have his heart for the world. And then “go and make disciples!”
Sidenote: If you have elementary children, please put some green on them! Just say’in!