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The Luck of the Irish? Or the Power of Jesus?!
Pastor Joe Giacometti ©2002

I know that we are a bit removed from the Irish time of St. Patrick’s Day, but we are still in the month of March, and Easter is Late this year, so I think we are still in the realm of discussing Irish issues. Like who exactly is St. Patrick? Well, thanks to my hometown newspaper, I am able to tell you the following about St. Patrick. He was born in AD 385. He was not Christian until about the age of 16 at which point he became a slave, and became closer to God during his captivity. He escaped from his slavery, and fled to Gaul, where he sought religious education at a monastery. After about twelve years of study, he essentially felt that evangelism was his calling. Not too long after, he was appointed second Bishop of Ireland. Patrick set out to convert Ireland to Christianity, and that's exactly what he did. He had great success at bringing people out of paganism to become Christians. This upset the Celtic Druids quite a bit, and because of that he was arrested several times. However, it seems Patrick was quite the escape artist, as not only from his slavery, but every time he was arrested he escaped. He was able to set up monasteries all over Ireland, which helped his cause for the country’s conversion quite a bit. After thirty years of successful ministry to Ireland, Patrick retired. He died on March 17, AD 461 which is now known as St. Patrick’s Day. (New Fairfield, CT - Citizen News, Section 2, March 14, 2001, Page 11).

Based on this story, the root of my issue does not lie with St. Patrick himself, but with the general Irish customs, tradition and folklore that now surrounds what is essentially a Christian holiday. There are many things I would like to discuss. Like why exactly a four-leaf clover (as opposed to a three-leave clover) is considered lucky? And why in general the Irish are known for luck and the saying “the luck of the Irish.” What does this mean? What exactly is a leprechaun? I think that all of these questions are all quite related, and that a lot of them are far off the mark of what St. Patrick originally stood for. These things all surface just because St. Patrick was Irish, and somebody decided to honor him for what he did as a holiday. So, the secular (non-religious) ways of the world decided to focus more on Irish folklore and legend, then the actual work of a great man of God.

Where does this whole mystique of luck come from in relationship to the Irish? Well in all honesty I was not able to easily find this out. I tried researching as much as I could, but couldn’t really find much on the specific luck of the Irish. However, as I mentioned, the four-leaf clover is considered a lucky item, and this is often related to the character of the leprechaun. A leprechaun is considered to be somewhat of an Irish fairy from what I could tell. One that apparently brings good luck. Perhaps similar to how cupid brings love, and the tooth fairy brings money for teeth. Probably the foundation for the cereal “Lucky Charms.” (One of my favorites!) What it comes down to is, it’s a mystery, at least to me, why luck is associated with the Irish, outside of these few speculations above.

So let’s just deal with luck. What is luck? Well, the dictionary says this: “luck. n. 1. That which happens to a person, as if by chance, in the course of events: to have good luck. 2. Good fortune; advantage or success considered as the result of chance: to wish one luck. (The American College Dictionary).

So pretty much, luck is based on nothing. Nothing at all. There’s no good reason that luck should exist. It’s just sort of a code that we came up with for whether things are going well for us or not. So you tell me, do you live by luck? Do you consider yourself lucky; or fortunate? Do you consider yourself lucky; or blessed? I know that the idea of luck is hard to escape in our society, however, lately I’ve really been trying hard to get away from the idea of luck, and consider myself fortunate or blessed. Let me tell you why. Luck takes away from God! It’s saying that for no good reason at all, something good happened to me. Not something God did for me, or blessed me with, but just from the general cosmos of the realms of nothing (if you think that exact term means something, it doesn’t) I had something good happen to me. I’m not buying that. And if you believe in God, you shouldn’t either. God gives us ALL we have, and he can take it away in a heartbeat. So instead of considering ourselves lucky, let’s try to start considering ourselves ridiculously blessed, and be continuously thankful to God for that.

“Well, Joe, what about the bad things? What’s your answer to bad luck, or being unlucky?” Well, if we live with the idea of bad luck, I think there are two possible things we take away from. First of all, we take away from life. Bad things happen to all people, to any degree from mild to severe. Life gives us tests and adversity from birth to death, and to not realize that is to not understand life. Because it’s from those tests and adversities that success and triumph comes. So, without good things, there could be no bad things, and without bad things there could be no good things, because there would be no sense of relativity to compare either one to. In that case we would be living in something like (in the words of an old Dave Matthews song) “one big nothin’, one big nothin’ at all.” (Not a Christian artist or song, just words put in a way that fits what I’m trying to describe).

Secondly, the idea of bad luck takes away from Satan. That’s right, Satan. Evil powers and spirits. Touchy subject, yet one that does exist, nevertheless. So you may be thinking, ”yeah, we should want to take away from Satan, right? Why should we give him credit?” Well, the only credit we should give Satan is that he exists. Because of his existence, he tempts us all with negative things. If we deny that Satan creates bad situations, and is constantly at work in our world, as we know it, you might as well throw the Bible out your window. No Satan makes the Bible obsolete. God would have nothing to overcome, Jesus would have died for nothing, and no battles would have been won for us on the cross. It’s that simple. Denying that Satan exists and works in the world is a dangerous viewpoint, because that gives him all the more room to sneak up on you and attack in so many ways. So in review and put simply, you can chalk bad luck up to two things. The tests/adversities of life, and Satan.

So I’ll ask you again. Do you live with luck? Or do you live with the power of Jesus? Do you live with faith like a child, which can move the mighty mountains? Or do you live merely with good luck? Do you live with the many tests that God puts before us and the temptations that Satan uses against us, or do you live merely with bad luck? I think in both cases there are vast differences.

Here’s the luck you should live with. It’s not luck at all; it’s the power of Jesus. Philippians 4:13 states “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” In the power of Jesus’ name, you can accomplish anything for his glory and the good of his kingdom. And even those tests that you might consider as bad luck? They might not be part of your plan, but they are part of the plan of the one who created you! These things will bring you to new heights in character and as a person that loves God and that God loves. Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” And go into every situation knowing that God will put nothing before you that you can’t handle with his strength and power.

It may be hard, but try to start living without luck. Like I said, I know it’s hard and I know that often times, no harm is meant by it. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to give God every ounce of credit he deserves, or be aware of what Satan is trying to pull on us next. Always be thankful and alert, and try your hardest to leave luck to the Irish.