II. BEING LARGE IN HEART
As an elder, a person must first have a heart that is large. Largeness is the first necessary condition of an elder’s heart. In the Bible, there is one very good ruler, King Solomon. All readers of the Bible admit that he is a standard and a typical character concerning administration in the Bible. If we want to find a standard character on experiencing the cross, we have to go to David. But to find a standard character on managing God’s people, we have to go to Solomon. Solomon was indeed competent at managing. We must remember, however, that King Solomon was competent at managing for two reasons: he had wisdom, and he had a large heart. Actually, these are two aspects of one thing.
You will recall that Solomon succeeded to the throne when he was very young. As soon as he succeeded to the throne, he went to offer sacrifices to God. In the night, while God appeared to him, Solomon prayed, "And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in....Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad" (1 Kings 3:7-9). He wanted wisdom from God. Everyone knows that the most necessary thing in management is wisdom. To have cleverness is not enough, because cleverness is common, whereas wisdom is extraordinary. Solomon deeply felt that for a young man to rule the myriads of God’s people, he needed wisdom from God. That was why he sought for wisdom before God. Surprisingly, however, though he asked only for wisdom, God gave him, in addition to wisdom, also a large heart. First Kings 4:29 says, "And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the seashore." It says that largeness of heart is like the sand on the seashore. A Chinese proverb speaks of the heart being as large as the capacity of the sea, but here the heart is as large as the sand on the seashore. The seashore encloses the sea. The Scriptures say that God has "placed the sand for the bound of the sea" (Jer. 5:22). Therefore, Solomon’s heart was larger than the sea.
At the time when God gave Solomon wisdom, He also gave him a large heart. We have to know that all wise ones have large hearts, and everyone with a narrow heart is a foolish person. If you want to be a foolish person, let me teach you a way: simply make your heart small. In the same principle, if you enlarge your heart, you will become the wisest person. You cannot separate a large heart from wisdom and prudence. This is why I say that these are two aspects of one thing.
Pride is an expression of foolishness. But from where does pride come? It comes from being narrow. When a person is narrow and his heart is narrow, it is easy for him to be proud. It is very hard for a person with a large heart to be proud. For example, we have a young guest living in our house now. He always boasts to me. He is a typical proud person. When he puts on a pair of little shoes, he is elated and walks around in a haughty way. However, brothers and sisters, a large person would not feel anything concerning a pair of shoes; even if he is given two automobiles, he will not feel anything. This is because such a person is large. Pride is the expression of the narrowness of a person. Suppose you give a message unusually well one day, and, as a result, you become proud. This pride proves your narrowness. If your heart is large, even if you have preached very well a thousand times, let alone only once, you would not feel anything. All foolishness proves that a person’s heart is narrow, and all pride proves that you are too small.
(The Elders' Management of the Church, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)