An earlier version of this post appeared on the Pastors’ Blog in March 2016.
Back in 2011, around this time of year, I was doing a lot of writing on men’s issues, and much of that writing touched on current events or timely topics. Since I needed to come up with a post, I chose to write a fun article about Saint Patrick’s Day, in which I defended my choice to wear green on March 17. The article involved a little research about Saint Patrick himself, and it was a joy to learn more about him and tell his story. We’ve now passed Saint Patrick’s Day this year, but permit me to circle back a bit so we don’t miss out on a neat story…
You see, Patrick (circa A.D. 390–460) was an early evangelist who exhibited courage and uncommon grace at the same time. Patrick was born and raised in Britain but, at the age of sixteen, pirates captured him and sold him into slavery in Ireland. Years later, Patrick escaped and returned home but, around A.D. 432, he went back to Ireland. Why did he do this? He felt compelled to bring the good news of salvation through Jesus to the Irish people.
The rationale behind foreign missions is very simple. God tells us that it is necessary for people to proclaim the good news of Jesus to those who have not heard it: “But how are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14).
As we know, though, simple things are not always easy. Sometimes they are downright difficult. Patrick not only faced the barrier of traveling to a foreign land but also the fear that would come with doing so, and the barrier of unforgiveness that must have stood in his way. Instead of being overcome by these barriers, he broke through them, by God’s grace, and extended God’s grace to the land and people of his captivity.
Next year when Saint Patrick’s Day comes around, you might be excited about the holiday or you might not be enthused about all that accompanies it in here the States (I’m told it’s much more solemn in Ireland). You might not even have a drop of Irish blood. But just in case you have something green in your wardrobe you want to break out, you’ll have a good reason to do so.
— Beau O’Stanley
Beau Stanley and his wife, Stacey, both grew up in the Columbus area and have been part of Grace Polaris Church for most of their lives. Beau joined the Grace staff in 2007 after theology studies in the Chicago area and in Phoenix (Phoenix Seminary). Prior to that, he studied commerce (University of Virginia) and worked in the financial industry, including a role as an investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs in New York City. Beau is a fitness enthusiast and also enjoys music and learning about diverse topics. Beau and Stacey have two young boys.