Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14
The four chaplains weren’t known as “heroes.” But on a frigid February night in 1943, when their transport ship, the SS Dorchester, was torpedoed off the coast of Greenland during World War II, the four gave their all to calm hundreds of panicked soldiers. With the ship sinking and injured men jumping for overcrowded lifeboats, the four chaplains calmed the pandemonium by “preaching courage,” a survivor said.
When life jackets ran out, each took his off, giving it to a frightened young man. They had determined to go down with the ship so that others might live. Said one survivor, “It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven.”
Linking arms as the ship began to sink, the chaplains prayed aloud together, offering encouragement to those perishing with them.
Bravery marks their saga. Love, however, defines the gift the four offered. Paul urged such love of all believers, including those in the storm-tossed church at Corinth. Roiled by conflict, corruption, and sin, Paul urged them to “be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). Then he added, “Do everything in love” (v. 14).
It’s a sterling command for every believer in Jesus, especially during a crisis. In life, when upheaval threatens, our bravest response reflects Christ—giving to others His love.
Why does selfless love reflect Jesus? How can His love influence how you respond in a turbulent situation?
Jesus, when I don’t feel brave, which is often, stir up my courage to boldly offer love.
In 1 Corinthians 16:14, as Paul was about to close the longest of his epistles, he included these words as one of his final exhortations: “Do everything in love.” However, this wasn’t before stringing together a series of four commands in verse 13, all of which are military words. The first word, guard (grēgoreō), means to watch, to be awake, alert (see Mark 13:35, 37; Acts 20:31). The next word, firm (stḗkō), means to stand fast or to hold one’s ground (see Galatians 5:1); it’s a call to persevere or to persist in the Christian faith. Using the word courageous (andrízomai), which means “to be brave,” Paul called the Corinthians to courage. The last of the four military words is strong (krataioō), which means to be or become strong (see Ephesians 3:16). Bravery and love are essential for living the life of a believer in Jesus.