The Story Behind Opo: Awake! Part 26

by | Apr 30, 2018 | Awake!, Knowledge, Love

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” (1 Cor 13:8 NIV)

What would you prefer: Knowledge or love? Take your time before deciding, because the decision you make can affect your life for eternity.

And while you think about this, let me tell you a true story.

In the spring of 1955, an insignificant dolphin appeared in the bay of Opononi, in the Northern island of New Zealand. At first nobody paid any attention to her. She was just a dolphin, after all! But she, who was later called Opo, cautiously approached the beach, near the wharf.

With her playful spirit and love for children, it wasn’t long before her presence in the bay attracted attention. Especially since she loved to juggle balls and empty beer bottles on her snout!

Before anyone knew it, Opo had made world news. Multitudes traveled over dusty, unpaved roads, crowding into tiny Opononi to see that special dolphin. She became an overnight sensation, and as if she sensed how special she was, she went out of her way to show the people love and to make everyone around her feel special.

But not everybody welcomed Opo’s presence in the bay. There was a group of fishermen who were quite upset by her presence. You see, they knew that dolphins feed on fish, and that to stay alive, they require a huge amount of fish each day. They worried that the waters of Opononi bay would soon be depleted of the fish that they, themselves, needed for their livelihood. They did everything they knew to discourage the young dolphin, even jabbing her with oars.

And how did Opo respond? She just kept on loving the people of Opononi!

On the evening of March 8, 1956, the local municipality made law that it was an offense to molest dolphins in the Hokianga Harbour. The very next day, Opo was found dead, jammed in a crevice between two rocks.

The people of Opononi mourned their loss. No one had shown them such love and acceptance, even amidst hostility. Accusations flew wide, but it was never discovered how she arrived at her untimely death.

I wonder if we, too, tend to be hostile towards others at time, because of what we think we know about them. If our goal is not to build up those around us, then either directly or indirectly, our actions will tear them down. It’s all a question of love.

“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Cor 8:1 NIV)

So, what have you decided: knowledge or love?

Rob Chaffart

(To access the entire “Awake!” devotional series, please click here.)


The Story Behind Opo: Awake! Part 26