By Xia Bing
When I got home from work one day, my friend, a deacon, told me that she had been replaced by her church because of her negligence. Seeing the look of depression on her face, I was overwhelmed and didn’t know what to say to comfort her. She said with a heavy heart, “It’s okay. I just want to be alone for a while.” Seeing my lively and cheerful friend suddenly become so reticent, I felt sad, not only for her but also for myself.
Later that night, a little story put on Facebook by one of my friends deeply touched me. Here is the story: A little girl felt sad because she only had a minor role in a school activity. She thought the teacher didn’t like her or that she was not up to the important role in her teacher’s eyes. After finding out about this, her mother showed her clock components and told her that they have humble roles but also have their own value and significance. Although the gears and screws are small, they all play important roles in the clock. Without them, even the most beautiful clock could not work.
Each of us is just like the girl in the story, hoping to get a leading role in life. Because the lead actors always have a shining halo and are never out of the limelight. But in fact, we may never get to play a leading role in life. Many times we just play supporting roles. The reason why my friend was so upset and depressed was that she had lost the deacon’s aura. She thought that she no longer had a dazzling role in the church, but was now just an ordinary believer.
In fact, I have been holding onto such a point of view, too. In my life, I believe I should stand high above all and enjoy fame and fortune. I believe I should have the high regard and support of everyone. Only such a life is complete, valuable and meaningful. Therefore, as a result of this point of view, I always take the lead in whichever group I’m in. I want to be highly regarded and take fame and status as the goal of my life. Once I lose that status and esteem, I start to feel moody, and lash out against everyone and everything. I’m not even able to find any direction and goals in life.
It was not until I experienced some setbacks recently that I understood something: Everyone created by God has a different mission, and each plays his or her part in their respective position in life. This world needs all kinds of people. If everyone were the protagonists, then who would there be to play the other roles? Some people play leading roles in life. Others have to play supporting roles. Strictly speaking, there is no absolute leading role or supporting role on the stage of life. Therefore, even playing a supporting role does not mean being inferior. In fact, everyone is unique in God’s eyes; we just have different functions and missions. Just assays, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered to them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey” (Mat 25:14-15). “The functions are not the same. There is one body. Each does his duty, each in his place and doing his very best—for each spark there is one flash of light—and seeking maturity in life. Thus will I be satisfied.” God has arranged for everyone to come into this world, bestowing on us different strengths and advantages. God demands that we dedicate a part of our energy to fulfilling our mission. As long as we are able to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, view ourselves correctly, and not blindly admire or belittle others, then we can use our strengths to fulfill our duties in the right place and live a meaningful life.
A friend of mine shared with me a passage of sermons, which says, “If we are to be a blade of grass, then we are willing to be a blade of grass. Don’t think of being a tall tree—you are a blade of grass. And if you are a tree, do not think of becoming a towering building. You do what you were made to do. You should know your place, pursue the truth, and fulfill your duty well; this is the best way to live, and this kind of life is not taxing. No matter what our duty is in the house of God, what position it is, as long as we are able to live out the truth and satisfy God, as long as we can properly worship God, we are living the happiest life. We should not be dominated by our ambition or motives. We must obey God’s rule and His arrangements” (“The Significance of Obeying God” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (I)). Reading this passage again, I felt deeply moved by it. Thinking of the road I’d walked, I’d always been trying to be a protagonist in life, wanting to stand high above everyone else and enjoy the blessings of status, and had been unwilling to play minor roles. So I had suffered lots of pain. If I had a correct understanding of God’s predestination and sovereignty, I wouldn’t always feel sorrow and pain. In the eyes of God, we are all creatures and He is fair to everyone. Each tree functions as a tree, and grass functions as grass. Compared with the tree, the grass looks humble; compared with a tall building, the tree looks humble. But in the eyes of God, the grass has its function and so does the tree. Both of them have their own value, and neither will lose its function because of its comparative size. It is because of these different roles that the world we live in is so rich and colorful. If everyone had a leading role, one can imagine how chaotic and colorless the world would become.
There are no minor roles in life, and everyone plays their respective role, as predestined by the Creator. On the great stage of life, we just play a variety of small roles. Only if everyone submits to the predestination and sovereignty of the Creator, play our own roles, and fulfill our mission, will our small roles result in a more wonderful, valuable and meaningful life, and will we enjoy more freedom and the feeling of being released.
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