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In ancient China, during the Han dynasty, there was a scholar called Kong Rong (孔融). Kong Rong was a very intelligent son, well-known for his love and respect for his siblings.

Kong Rong had five elder brothers and one younger brother. When he was four years old, Kong Rong’s father brought some delicious pears home for the family. As Kong Rong’s father was very fond of him, he handed Kong Rong the biggest pear. However, Kong Rong politely declined and chose the smallest pear instead.

A portrait of Kong Rong, his father, and his brothers. Kong Rong's father brought home some pears and gave the biggest one to Kong Rong.

Being very surprised, Kong Rong’s father asked, “I have given you the biggest pear, but why did you pick the smallest?”

Kong Rong replied,”I am younger than my elder brothers, so they should have the bigger pears.”

His father then asked again, “If that is so, how about your younger brother? He is the youngest in the family. Shouldn’t he have the smallest pear?”

“Since I am older than my younger brother, I should take care of him by giving him the bigger and better pear,” Kong Rong replied.

Hearing Kong Rong’s reply, his father was very pleased and delighted.

 

Kong Rong chose to have the smallest pear, and let his siblings have the bigger ones.

This story soon spread throughout China and was handed down from generation to generation. Kong Rong’s act of giving in is still being used today as a perfect example to educate children on the importance of loving and caring for one another.

孔融让梨 is also mentioned in the Three Character Classic, a text used for elementary education since the Song Dynasty. The Chinese idiom 孔融让梨 means:

孔融 (kǒng róng) — Kong Rong
让 (ràng) — Give in
梨 (lí) — Pear

 

We are all spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ, and God tells us that we should love one another as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39). We can learn from Kong Rong the love he had for his siblings—always looking out for their interests regardless whether they are older or younger. He sacrificed and gave the better pears to his brothers. The Scriptures, too, say as follows:

Philippians 2:3-4  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Acts 20:35  … remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Have you tried giving your pear to someone?