SIDENOTE: Though my WordArt reflects the NLT, I personally prefer the King Jimmy translation of this verse, as I feel it is more descriptive. If you hover over the verse notation at the top of the page, it will take you to a side-by-side comparison of the NLT and the KJV translations via biblegateway.com.
Paul is getting down to brass tacks in this third verse of 1st Corinthians. He's addressed some of the spiritual gifts held in high esteem by the church of Corinth in the first two verses, and now he's expounding on the gift of giving.
We can give it all away, all our earthly possessions, all our money, EVERYTHING...and it will still mean NOTHING if we didn't love others. The endowments, the offerings, the supplying to those in need...the heroics or self-satisfaction of those actions are blotted out in worthlessness without love.
And then Paul really spells it out for us...
You could give your body up for sacrificial death
& you would gain nothing ~ because you didn't LOVE.
I can scarcely imagine giving up my life for someone, only to find my death meant nothing. Why did Paul use such imagery? I think he wanted to impress upon us just how temporary and meaningless those gifts and even enduring death are without LOVE. Truly, it's difficult for me to wrap my head around that, because in this world, giving to others and good deeds are typically held in high esteem. If love is this important, how do we achieve showing it to others?
The next verses will explain love. We'll begin studying those on Monday. Until then, I encourage you as you are out and about this weekend, with the hustle and bustle of people hurrying to accomplish their errands and to-do lists, remember to take a deep breath and:
LOVE the Person Before Me
How will you LOVE others today?