The Elders' Management of the Church, by Witness Lee


When we say that the heart must be upright, we do not merely mean that it should not be crooked. We mean that there should not be any motive or aim in one’s heart. For the elders to oversee the church, they must have a heart that can say before God that their help to the brothers and sisters and their leading of their spiritual pursuit are with absolutely no motive. This is what it means to be upright. Many times elders visit others with a motive. Sometimes they invite brothers to a love feast also with a motive. It seems that when they invite a person, that person is supposed to come under their control. This is to have a motive. It is politics. It is not uprightness. When we invite others to come to a love feast for fellowship, we should invite them only for this purpose. If we have some other motive, we should make it clear to them. This is to be upright. In the church, and especially with the leading ones and with those responsible for the administration, no one should take advantage of opportunities. Even if an opportunity is available, they should not take advantage of it. Otherwise, their heart is not upright.

For the elders to manage the affairs of the church, their heart must be upright, and their ways must also be upright. They must not walk a crooked path. Suppose you are in trouble with a brother and fail to find a solution to the problem. You may go to this one’s brother-in-law to try to have the brother-in-law speak to this one’s wife, hoping that she would in turn speak to the brother. This kind of thing should never be done. If you have the Lord’s leading to speak to the brother-in-law, it is a different matter. But if not, you must never act like the worldly people, taking back doors and shortcuts.

I believe after I have spoken all these things, you can understand what I mean. The elders in the church must learn to enlarge their heart again and again. It is right for one not to be presumptuous, boastful, or desiring to be great. Yet at the same time, the heart must be enlarged. Meanwhile, the heart must be honest and upright, and you must not try to make use of others. If you need someone to help you with something, simply tell the other person plainly. If it is not convenient with the other person, you should not force the issue. Do not skirt the issues, and do not try to make use of others. We must deal with our heart before God to such an extent.

Originally, I intended to mention also that the heart must be pure. We do not need to speak about it now, because purity is included within honesty and uprightness. If you can be honest, truthful, upright, and straight, your heart will surely be pure. With this type of heart, God will have a way through you; He will be able to use you to oversee the church, and you will become a real profit to all the brothers and sisters.

(The Elders' Management of the Church, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)