From Pots of Gold to Skittles…
I enjoy history. I especially enjoy studying the “whys” behind some of our holidays and traditions. St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and I couldn’t resist looking into it. So, what is behind this holiday? Who is behind it? We see people put out leprechauns on their lawns; they make a river green; talk about rainbows with pots of gold; use the day as a marketing ploy; and many use it as an excuse to party hardy. That isn’t how the holiday started out. The day was originally set aside to honor a man who lived a life of self sacrifice. In brief, Patrick was born as the Roman Empire was losing control over their colonies-at the beginning of the Dark Ages; was born to a wealthy Britain family that was still under Roman rule; was kidnapped and forced into slavery in Ireland by invaders; escaped after six years; committed his life to the service of his Lord; became a priest and went back to the place, Ireland, where he had been enslaved. Once back in Ireland, he served. He lived in poverty, only caring about those he served and is thought of as the true patron saint of Ireland. March 17th, the day we celebrate as St. Patrick’s day, is the day of his death.
I know that was just a thumbnail sketch of this precious man, but I wanted to give a glimpse of what was really behind this holiday. But before I leave this subject, I want to say one more thing about this day. On this day, if you do not wear green, you get pinched-go figure. I don’t know where that tradition came from but I want to capitalize on it. I want to verbally give us a “pinch” – a pinch to alert us to an important lesson we can get from St. Patrick. St. Patrick went back to the place where he was held captive. He went back there not knowing how he would be received, but he went back to share with them what he had found: a living relationship with his Lord!
Scripture teaches us that we are commissioned to be ambassadors of His love-those who God can use to lead people unto Himself. In fact 2 Cor 5:18 states, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” Wow! We have the privilege of being used by God to share His love, that they may be reconciled unto Him! As a Pastor, as a minister at Teen Challenge, I tell you, there is no greater gift than to be able to lead someone to the Lord-to be able to have a part in his or her spiritual growth. This world can take a lot away from us, but it can never take away what we have spoken into the lives of others. It is so easy to get side tracked by all the “stuff” in life, but may we take a chapter from St. Patrick’s life and get back to that which is really important.
Before I go, one more bit of trivia. Ever wonder about the Shamrock? St. Patrick used it as a tool to explain the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Shows that God can use just about anything to get His truth across…. EVEN US! #sharingthelove