I wonder what would have happened if St. Patrick would have believed in the health and wealth gospel? I wonder if he had of fallen into the trap of seeking “his best life now” over and above seeking The Lord? I wonder if struggle would have been the end, instead of the starting point of Patrick’s ministry?
You see St. Patrick didn’t start out as the great missionary to the Irish that we celebrate today. George Hunter, in his book tells us a little about Patrick: He started out a bit of a knucklehead who played a little fast and a little loose with life. When he was just 16 he was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave. He was given the job of shepherd, where he was schooled by the heavens in the power of God. It was through his struggle of being enslaved by a fairly barbaric people that he came to believe the Gospel for himself and actually love the people that enslaved him.
St. Patrick’s story is one of my favorites. It reminds me of both my calling in life as a Christian and the reality in life that suffering produces endurance (Romans 5:3).
Lindsey brought this point home this past week as we started our sermon series on the book of James. I’d recommend you listen or re-listen to it here. I love the progression that James starts with:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James understood what God does in suffering. This understanding changed St. Patrick’s life. I wonder what a biblical understanding of suffering and trials will do for Midtown Community Church? For our families? For ourselves?
If you ever want to talk about this or anything, reach out to Lindsey or I over at the contact page.
We are less without each other…