Summary: Our life experiences are to be used to help encourage others.
Text: Delivered to Deliver
This past Friday, the world celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. There were parades and parties. People dressed in green or pinched those who didn’t. Many made a meal out of corn beef and cabbage. (I think I would rather have broccoli) But is St. Patrick’s Day all about 4-leaf clovers and leaping leprechauns? I have to admit that I never really knew why we celebrated this particular day. And so I decided to research it just a bit and I was intrigued with what I found.
Patrick was born on the West Coast of Britain about 360 AD. He was the son of a British Nobleman. When he was 16, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold into the service of a wicked King. His job was to tend a herd of sheep located in the mountains. The sheep turned out to be his only friends and so he would talk to them. It was during that time that he also began to talk to the God of his Christian grandfather. He didn’t know much about Christianity, but he remembered the Lord’s prayer that he had been taught and so he would say that over and over each day.
It was during his prayer time that he heard a voice that he knew was the Lord himself. He quickly embraced the feeling in his heart and over the next six years he nurtured his faith by talking to this new friend.
Patrick managed to escape Ireland and landed on the coast of France. It was there, under the tutelage of a French bishop, that he developed a love for the Scriptures. He finally made it back to his homeland of Britain where he was welcomed as a son, but his homecoming would not last for long.
It was during the night that the Lord gave Patrick a vision. In this vision, he saw a man carrying letters from Ireland. He asked to read one and the opening line was, “The voice of the Irish…” He said he heard at the same moment their voices saying, “We beg you, come young man and walk among us once more.” It was then and there that Patrick knew he was being called back to Ireland, not as a slave, but as a missionary.
So back to Ireland he went about 430 AD. When he started his missionary journey Ireland was steeped in the occult. Druid priests, deep into black magic held the people in a death-grip. But Patrick challenged the demonic strongholds and won but the victory was neither quick nor cheap. He was imprisoned for months at a time. Yet one after another, tiny kingdoms would finally allow him to declare the good news of Jesus within their borders.
Over the years, Patrick baptized ten’s of thousands and hundred’s of chapels were erected for the worship of Jesus all over Ireland. He was delivered to deliver. The very place and people that had enslaved him, now became his field of harvest. The place where he would labor to deliver them from the bondage of sin.
As I read about this man I thought about why God chose to deliver me from sin’s grip. Our Scripture text reveals that there was a time when I was without mercy and had no identity. But by God’s grace, He made me his son that I might show forth praise to the one who brought me out of darkness into His marvelous light.
There is no higher praise than to use my life as a catalyst for someone to be introduced to Jesus Christ. It’s not my life that counts---it’s what I do with my life that makes all the difference to those around me. I can sit in the church and rejoice in my own deliverance or I can take my forgiven and freed spirit to a lost and fallen world and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ so that they too can be set free.
In Luke Chapter 22, Jesus is talking with Peter and He tells him that satan desires to have him so that he could sift him as wheat. But Jesus said, “I have prayed for you that your faith fails not:” And then Jesus says something that should cause us to think. Jesus says, “And when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.”
Jesus knew that Peter would deny him. He tells him so a couple of verses later. And I think what Jesus was trying to tell Peter was that there would be others that would deny him. And He needed Peter, whom He had forgiven, to be the first to strengthen them and let them know that there was forgiveness for them too.
Et me ask you something today! What have you been delivered of that you could help someone else with? Maybe someone is struggling with the very issues that you overcame. God did not deliver you to occupy space. He delivered you so you could be the one to carry the message of deliverance!