Saint Patrick's Pearl
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"May you have all the happiness and luck that life can hold—and at the end of your rainbows may you find a pot of gold."
This old Irish blessing sounds like something we might see emblazoned on a St. Patrick’s Day advertisement for a local pub. It portrays the merry, wishful feelings most people associate with the holiday. But its words also capture something much, much deeper.
We can tap into this truth by exploring the life of Saint Patrick, the holiday’s namesake, who was a lifetime missionary to Ireland in the 5th century. Patrick once said, “I am certain in my heart that all that I am, I have received from God,” and he would start each day with a prayer, the heart of which is captured in the words, “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me…”
For Patrick, Christ was everything. Though he did not at first know God as a young man, he met the Lord in genuine experience during the worst time in his life—after raiders attacked his home and took him captive to Ireland. There, as a slave, he surrendered his life completely to God. And though God helped him find freedom and make his way home, some years later he returned to Ireland to give his life in missionary service to its people.
You see, for Patrick, finding Christ meant finding the ultimate treasure. As Jesus shared in the parable of the pearl of great price,
"The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it" (Matthew 13:45-46 ESV).
Patrick found he was willing to give up everything for this pearl—for Jesus Christ.
When he heard the call to go to Ireland, he willingly left behind a family that loved him and a promising career. As he persevered in service across the waves, he even braved the disapproval of religious authorities who wished he’d taken a different path. This is not to mention the tremendous risk he took in returning to a land where he was known as a fugitive slave.
So we return to today’s holiday and the words of the old blessing. Saint Patrick gave himself so fully to God’s work and made such a tremendous impact on the people of Ireland that his name began to be associated widely with Ireland itself and celebrations of its culture. And his heart was simple: Jesus was the treasure at the end of the rainbow.
The question, then, is this: what will you give for fellowship with the King? What haven’t you given in order to serve Him well and be found faithful at the end of your journey—as Patrick surely was? What a reception surely awaited him as he entered God’s presence when his race was finished! Countless people will fellowship with him in eternity because he gave all—like the apostle, Paul—for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord (Philippians 3:8-10).
Scripture is quoted from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited. All rights reserved.
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