Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:2-5
Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day.
Chicago will be dyeing their river green, and many who have no claim to Irish ancestry will be joining in the pub crawls and sipping green beer. Whether St. Patrick would join in is a matter of debate.
What is not debatable is that Patrick, like St. Nick and probably St. Valentine, were real men and very real servants of the Savior. Sadly, the importance of their work and the sacrifices they made to share the Redeemer's story of salvation with a sinful world are often overclouded by legend.
I can't tell you if St. Patrick really used the shamrock to illustrate the truth of the Trinity. Nor do I know if "casting the snakes out of Ireland" is an allegory explaining how he battled the forces of Satan whose animal of choice is the serpent.
I'm fairly certain the legend about Aspatria is just that. According to that story Patrick used an ash wood walking stick. Whenever he was preaching, he planted the stick in the ground. According to that story, the people were so slow at understanding Christ and the doctrines which are part of the church, that when Patrick finally did get through to them, his stick had taken root.
The story probably isn't true, but that doesn't mean there isn't truth behind it. No doubt, Patrick, like all of us, have encountered times when the soil upon which we sow the seed of the Gospel message seems to be particularly hard.
From your e-mails I know many of the Daily Devotion readers have spent some considerable time trying to "get through" to someone who has never known or who has fallen away from the faith. Month after month you have kept praying, kept speaking, kept trying to share the joy which comes only through being washed in the blood of the Lamb.
If that is true for you, I have only one thing to say: keep it up.
If you have prayed for a dozen years, make it a baker's dozen. If you have witnessed 100 ways, ask the Lord to provide you with the 101st way and then soften that individual's heart so that the next witness you make gets through.
Walk in the committed path of men like St. Patrick and so many other powerful proclaimers.
By God's grace, at the right time and under the right circumstances the seeds you sow may take root and bear fruit. If so, we give thanks to God for His blessing; if not, we give thanks to God for giving us the story of the Savior to share.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are those I love, those who are close to me who do not know Jesus as Lord. Grant that I may be given the patience and perseverance to keep on sharing. This I ask in the Name of the Savior who has encouraged me to sow the seed. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries