Not many can claim a holiday was named after them. Not everyone can claim they changed a country either. But Saint Patrick has claim to both, the impact to Ireland leading to our yearly celebration in his honor.
God used this one man to share Christianity with the country of Ireland, and to this day the heritage of that great faith lives on. As an American, seeing my own country so in need of God and His Truth, I find it comforting to know that one person’s life can have such a profound impact.
Saint Patrick’s secret to changing Ireland? It was a three part lifestyle that started with this:
He welcomed anyone who wanted to come. Anyone who wanted to be with them. Anyone who wanted friendship and community. And he taught everyone around him about God and truth.
That sounds a whole lot like Jesus’ three year ministry on earth as he ate with sinners and tax collectors, taught everyone who would listen, and invited others to join Him in His everyday life. Not just 12 but many thousands were impacted in just those short years. Many more lives have been changed since.
Truth amidst everyday life is a powerful thing. Jesus used parables. Saint Patrick used analogies. One in particular was that of a three leafed clover. One clover, yet three distinct leaves. One God, yet three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (or Ghost, they’re synonymous).
From that belonging and teaching came the second part of the lifestyle: Belief.
After seeing faith lived out and up close, while hearing the truth of God explained, many many people started to believe in God.
And the last part in this trio: Lives changed.
Belief in the triune God naturally led to changed lives. Once the Irish people believed in God they no longer worshiped pagan idols or went their own way, instead they followed Christ and His way.
We get it backwards sometimes, thinking we need to act a certain way or believe a certain thing before we can belong with others. Instead we can know that we belong and that often belief and then life changes follow. That’s the three leafed lifestyle that changed a country and can change our lives and those around us too.
When we step in and belong we can have a huge impact on the world around us. And when we include others and show that they belong we’re following in Jesus and Saint Patrick’s footsteps. Belief and changed lives, even changed nations, naturally follow.
Saint Patrick used the three leafed clover to remind us about God. And now that I know his story, it also reminds me that I belong and it encourages me to help others know they belong too.
So where do you belong? Is there a group you could join? A church or a Bible study?
Who can you invite so they know they belong too?