“Maewyn–May Win? He Certainly Did!”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
Many times we read in the Bible about individuals whose names were changed by God as a result of their relationship to Him. Abram became Abraham. Jacob became Israel. Simon Bar-Jonah became Peter. And Saul became Paul. That’s just to name the most well-known examples. Today’s article deals with another person who was touched by God, and also had a name change. And, amazingly, he would be considered an oxymoron: an unknown celebrity.
I would not be exaggerating to say that, following the ministries of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul, few have had as much of an impact upon Christianity as this one solitary person. You see, single-handedly, this man brought a spiritual awakening to hundreds of thousands of people who had otherwise never heard the Gospel before. We’re talking hard-core pagans here. Perhaps to call his efforts some kind of a revival might even be an understatement! Moreover, through his monumental efforts, his name was also famously changed.
He was born with the name of Maewyn Succat, and at the age of 16, he was a victim of human-trafficking. Tragically, for six long years in a foreign country amid a foreign language, he endured beatings and horrible living conditions. Nonetheless, something very strange began to happen within him. He was abruptly set ablaze by the Holy Spirit of God! In fact, he’d spend countless hours praying to God, remembering Bible stories, and singing the hymns from his childhood. Those were the very things that he thought he had forgotten all about! And, speaking of forgotten, it was as if he’d forgotten that he was still a slave!
Suddenly, after 6 years of slavery, Maewyn heard the very audible voice of God! It totally startled him, as you can imagine. God told him: “Soon you will depart for your home country! Behold your ship is ready!” And so, with that supernatural prompting, he set out into the middle of the night. However, it would be two hundred miles still to get to a boat leading to his eventual freedom. Nevertheless, that would be only the first part of his incredible adventure with God. And his name still wasn’t changed yet.
Sadly, the reunion with his parents in England proved to be short-lived. You see, God had other plans for him. And after some theological training another message from God (this time a vision) came to him. Maewyn was sent to the most unlikely of all places: the very same place of his former captivity!
And so, Maewyn Succat obeyed God–and in the words of the late Paul Harvey–that’s where we encounter the “rest of the story”. Church historians conservatively estimate that more than 100,000 people were converted to Christ there! Also, more than 300 churches were established by him alone! And the entire country of IRELAND was radically awakened to God by one solitary man whose name was later changed–you guessed it–to St. Patrick! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!