VI. BEING ACCOMMODATING
An elder should have still another item of character, that of accommodating others. I have mentioned this point before and have called this character trait one that can be compared to glue; glue may be applied to a horizontal surface, a vertical body, a bump, a hole, or a corner. It can be accommodated to fit any shape. Whether an object is a bump or a hole, crooked or straight, level or slanted, it can be applied to it. An elder must be able to accommodate others in a similar way. However, although we speak of accommodation, this should not be something done artificially.
An elder must have a thorough, diligent, and stable character. He must be concerned for others and must be accommodating. If you have these five elements in your character, you will definitely manage a church well. I am not denying the importance of being spiritual, of which I have already spoken much. But if you are really spiritual, yet you lack these few character traits, your spirituality is still useless, and it still amounts to nothing. Spirituality can be compared to the ingredients, whereas character is the man himself behind the ingredients. Man’s character is composed of his natural disposition plus his habits. The character represents the person. If you are slow, it is the person who is slow. If you are fast, it is the person who is fast. If you are careless, it is the person who is careless. If you are thorough, it is the person who is thorough. You are such a person because you are constituted with such a character. A person may not necessarily produce something good simply because the ingredients are good; much depends on the worker who works on the ingredients. If your character is poor, even if you have spiritual experiences, there will be no way for them to be applied.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is not a great doctrine. However, I have full assurance, and I can lay down my life to guarantee that if an elder is not a thorough, diligent, stable person, and is not concerned for others, neither accommodating others all the time, he will never function well as an elder. To have such elders in a church is like having no elders at all. Only those elders who are thorough, diligent, stable, concerned for others’ affairs, and trying their best to accommodate others will be able to manage a church. Once we have such elders, we can thank and praise the Lord, for that church will surely have a bright future, and much spiritual blessing will be brought in.
Brothers, the elders among us are not professionals; they serve altogether out of love. We function as elders because we love the Lord, the church, and every member of His Body. Even if we pour out all the days of our life and our very life itself upon the church, it is worthwhile, and we are still willing to do it. This matter is bound up with the salvation of millions of souls; it is also bound up with the building up of millions of souls. How exceedingly glorious a work this is!
(The Elders' Management of the Church, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)