The Elders' Management of the Church, by Witness Lee


To be stable means that you do not change easily. For example, you should not place a sister in responsibility over a district, and then remove her after two weeks. Or, you should not make a decision to carry out some task only to waver when difficulty arises. All this speaks of instability. A stable person is not like this. He does not trust a person easily, but once he has trusted someone, he will not easily change. He does not make decisions easily, but once he has made a decision, he deals with problems steadily without panic, despite any difficulty that may arise. If elders do not possess this kind of stable character, they will cause trouble to the church, and there will be no way to go on.

A stable character does not come mainly by birth; rather, it comes mostly through discipline. For example, a word may have come to you; you have heard it, but you do not make a final decision about it until you have considered it well and have taken suggestions from all sides. You may need to write an essay. After you have finished the first draft, it is best to lay it aside for a couple of days and then to read it again. By that time, circumstances may change, or your thought may become clearer and your observation more accurate. Experience tells us that the weightier a matter is, the more there is the need for one to be stable. For you to be ever so slightly careless will result in some deficiencies and may even bring you into trouble.

We all have to admit that no matter how fine we are, it is nevertheless not easy to make an accurate judgment when confronted with certain matters. Therefore, we must learn to be stable. Do not easily believe or disbelieve. Do not believe too hastily or too slowly. Do not quickly say that someone is good or is bad. When you say that someone is good, you have to remember that he is still the descendant of Adam, and that no matter how good he is, he still has some corrupt elements. At the same time, when you repeatedly say that someone is not good, remember that as a part of God’s creation, he still has his good elements. This is especially true for one who has been saved by God’s grace. Therefore, no one is absolutely good or bad. Once you believe in something absolutely, you fall into an unstable position. Perhaps you will consider this as being careful, but this is much more than merely being careful.

When a problem arises in the church, and it appears that you need to deal with it, deal with it you must, but you should not panic or be hasty. You should first calm down before trying to deal with it. When you are in an unstable condition, do not attempt to deal with it. Especially the elders in a large local church must exercise to have this kind of stable character. Everything that passes through your hands must be weighed calmly. Although you may have one hundred percent trust in a brother, while you are trusting, you have to be considering at the same time. Do not put your trust in others all at once; put your trust in them a little at a time. In some situations, you need to allow the other person to manifest himself a little, then put your trust in him slowly. If you see anything unsafe, withdraw immediately. We must learn this lesson of being stable.

(The Elders' Management of the Church, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)