The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang, two characters in this masterpiece, were both very wise. At the time of the battle, they served different masters, and always pitted their wits and strength against each other. Zhuge was good at observing weather signs, which gave him an edge over Zhou. And for this reason, Zhou often suffered defeat. Unwilling to be surpassed by Zhuge Liang, Zhou harbored a long-standing grudge against Zhuge, and swore that he would defeat Zhuge. However, when he took the West River Land, he acted on a dare from Zhuge, and thus fell for his trick. Afterward, he received a letter from Zhuge in which he implied a sneer at Zhou’s failure. He felt so humiliated that he felt sick due to his long-standing grudge and had a relapse. In the end, he said with a long sigh before he died, “Heaven! Since thou made Zhou Yu, why did thou also create Zhuge Liang?”. Zhou Yu was a brilliant young man who was skilled at strategy, but ended up dead simply because he could not accept falling behind Zhuge. When it comes to the death of Zhou, later generations think it a pity.
However, aren’t we sometimes just like Zhou Yu? In real life, we often pit ourselves against others for the sake of our reputation and benefit, thus living in unbearable pain. As a matter of fact, in any group of people, they are different from one another. Everyone has different caliber, strengths and functions, which is ordained by God. His will is for us to obey His sovereignty, and to fulfill our respective functions in our places. Yet, corrupted by Satan, we live by our competitive nature and like to compete against others in everything, never giving up getting ahead. If we become a cut above others, we will be stuck-up; if we fall behind, we will complain.
Everyone wants to be the best of the best; no one is willing to fall behind. However, is standing high among people a real goal in life? The Lord Jesus said, “For whoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11). Even if we come out on top, without the truth, we are still lowly in the eyes of God. Furthermore, no matter how outstanding we become, we will be surpassed by others sooner or later. Rushing about and competing with others all our life, we will in the end realize that what we spend our whole life pursuing after is worth nothing. At this time, it will have been the end of our life and we will only be overwhelmed with regret.
The only way we can escape from all this pain is to submit to God’s sovereignty and ordination. If we get to know God’s sovereignty and obey His arrangements for our fate, then we can easily let go of our erroneous pursuits and will no longer do our utmost to be the best of the best, and we will want to be a down-to-earth person who only seeks to perform his function and complete his mission following the life course arranged for him by God. Just as grass do not compete with trees nor flowers but instead they are honest and down-to-earth in playing their own role. Even though the lifespan of the grass is short and people often ignore them, they still perform their function all the time. If we can have the good quality of the grass, we will not be upset because of falling behind, nor will we be conceited because of getting ahead.
We should keep in mind that status means nothing and it cannot determine our fate. We should not compete against others but be down-to-earth in playing our own roles.