Today is Saint Patrick’s Day, a day when we celebrate the heritage and culture of the Irish. Although commercially this holiday focuses on shamrocks and leprechauns, its origins hearken back to the seventeenth century when March 17th was declared a Christian feast day in honor of Saint Patrick. Since Saint Patrick was a missionary who brought Christianity to Ireland, many Christians attend worship services in his honor on this day marking his traditional death date.
While many people wear green and watch parades to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, few know the actual story of Saint Patrick himself. Interestingly enough, Saint Patrick wasn’t Irish, and he wasn’t born in Ireland. Patrick’s parents were Roman citizens living in modern-day England. According to tradition, at the age of sixteen, Patrick was kidnapped from his home in Britain by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland. While there he worked as a shepherd. Once when he was out in the fields, God told Patrick to go to the coast and return home. Back in Britain, he became a priest. He later returned to Ireland to convert pagans to Christianity. Thousands of people were brought into the faith as a result of his exceptional speaking skills as a missionary.
Unlike Saint Patrick, for many Christians, evangelism can be a scary undertaking. We are afraid of being rejected by others and hindering our relationships with friends and family when we choose to tell them about Jesus. Even the most courageous Christians can feel intimidated by the task of sharing the gospel message, because they don’t know how to start the conversation. Pray that God will provide opportunities for you to talk with your friends and that God will give you the courage to share the good news with others.