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Chap Chats: Who Was That Man?

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On March 17, people all over the world will don green to celebrate the cultural and religious holiday of St. Patrick's Day. Here in the U.S., we’ve been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day longer (since the Revolutionary War, in fact) than it has been in Ireland. Shamrock.png

From religious services to local events — including New York City’s annual parade dating back to the 1700s and being witnessed by more than two million people each year — there is no shortage of festivities on St. Patrick’s Day. Even closer to home, Chicago dyes the Chicago River emerald green — a half-century-old tradition.

Over time, traditions like these have grown and evolved into modern-day spectacles. Unfortunately, amidst the spectacle, we as a collective society have forgotten the cultural and religious significance of St. Patrick and, instead, have transformed the holiday into more of a secular celebration. For instance, the common misconception of this legendary character is the commercialized image of a green-suited leprechaun sporting a pipe, shamrock and/or pot of gold.

So let’s dig deeper and answer the question, "Who was that man?"

For example, did you know that St. Patrick was born of British descent? It’s true. He was born in Great Britain (i.e., Roman Britain) in the late 4th century. At age 16, he was kidnapped by Irish invaders and taken to Ireland, where he lived as a slave for six years. It was in his captivity that he discovered faith and converted to Christianity.

Following his escape from captivity, St. Patrick fled back to Britain, where he entered a monastery and studied for 12 years to become a priest. During this time, he sensed a calling to return to the land of his slavery and devote his life to sharing God’s love with the people of Ireland.

Despite much opposition during his 30 years of mission work, St. Patrick was able to lay the groundwork for Christianity throughout Ireland, including the establishment of many schools, monasteries and churches. One of his greatest and most impactful teachings was to use the metaphor of a shamrock (i.e., three-leaf clover) to explain the Holy Trinity and the three attributes faith, hope and love.

But St. Patrick's real legacy was that he changed a nation by demonstrating what we at Home Instead Senior Care® call Love (v).

All of us have been created by God with the opportunity to leave a legacy on and affect the world around us. To do this, we, like St. Patrick, must do three things:

1. Discover our purpose: When St. Patrick discovered his purpose to be a change agent to Ireland, it set the course of direction for his life.

2. Develop our giftings: Each one of us has been gifted by God with unique giftings and abilities. When we uncover what those giftings are, we must find ways to enhance and leverage them. In St. Patrick’s life, spending 12 years in a monastery allowed him to further develop his God-given gifts.

3. Deploy ourselves: For our lifelong purpose to be fulfilled, we must put ourselves into position for it to happen, and then take action. St. Patrick knew his purpose for Ireland and, therefore, couldn’t remain in Britain.

Apostle Paul's accolades for people who leave their mark of Love (v) on the world around them include, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news” (Romans 10:15).

I really love this passage and hope that, as we live out our purpose, the same may be said about us.

About the Author
As our Corporate Chaplain, Sheldon Miles serves as, what he calls, “an emotional and spiritual first responder.” His primary responsibilities include encouraging the weary, providing care sessions for the discouraged, and reinforcing Love (v) with our CAREGivers and support staff. 

When asked what Love (v) means to him, Sheldon said, “Love (v) is not about what you get to receive but about what you get to give. It’s about living your life and following the model given to us by the greatest Love (v) teacher who ever lived …” To that point, Sheldon cited John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down his life for his friends.”

In addition to advocating Love (v) to others, Sheldon walks the walk. He outwardly displays our eight Attributes of Love (v) in his daily interactions with our CAREGivers and support staff, who are invited and encouraged to reach out to him to discuss personal and professional matters that may be weighing on their hearts and minds, from marital issues and financial matters to workplace conflicts and even the loss of a client.

Sheldon comes to Home Instead with 25+ years of experience in the pastoral ministry, most recently serving at a local church in De Pere, Wis. He and his wife have two grown children, both of whom live out of state pursuing burgeoning careers. In their free time, Sheldon and his wife enjoy spending time together outdoors and staying active; in fact, Sheldon has competed in 12 marathons … and counting!


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