There are only a few people in the world who are willing to give away what they have. But even if you're one of the few who would do so, without love your act of sacrifice wouldn't count. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, talked about the tough kind of commitment that would lead to a martyr's death. Even so, he contended, without love, it would be futile.
John Huss was the greatly loved pastor of the Bethlehem Chapel in Prague. People would wait for hours to hear him preach and his message radically changed the city. He preached in his native Bohemian tongue and the masses loved him. The message of Huss was "Every saint is a priest but every priest is not a saint."
John Huss' enemies came together for a common cause. "Get rid of him," they cried. The king, wanting to be on the good side of the two power brokers, agreed to give John Huss safe passage from Prague to Constance where the church wanted to try him as a heretic. The king reneged on his promise and Huss was sentenced to death. His crime? Preaching to the masses.
Huss gave his body to be burned rather than recant what he had said and done. As the flames licked at his body, Huss said, "I have saith the truth according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so I'll choose to die - and gladly." The bottom line is that agape love is tough, the kind that is unrelenting, visceral, and uncompromising. But even if you would die for someone you love, says Paul, without love you would die in vain. A contemporary version puts it, "So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love" (1 Corinthians 13:3 The Message).
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. 1 CORINTHIANS 13:3 THE MESSAGE