Philip Yancey sent me a book a few years back by R. T. Kendall, The Anointing, which discusses three types of leaders: Yesterday's man (Saul), Today's man (Samuel) and Tomorrow's man (David). The account notes the treachery of today's man breaking from Yesterday's man and passing the Spirit baton to Tomorrow's man.
The church is often in this position needing to break from yesterday, today, in order to prepare for tomorrow's church. It's a tedious and, at times, wobbly tightrope.
Yesterday's man endures the pain of irrelevance, having known what it was to be used of God. And yet if he thinks he is still under the same anointing he once had, he still suffers by knowing in his heart of hearts that he is struggling with great effort to convince himself and others that he is still on the cutting edge of what God is doing today.
The pain of being tomorrow's man or woman is that you have to wait----sometimes much longer than you thought. The preparation is hard, God having to mold and shape you for your usefulness at the proper time.
The pain of being today's man or woman largely comes from the degree of courage required with the job. We never feel up to it. We may well feel like Gideon. The Lord addressed him as a "mighty warrior". His response: "How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."
God has used me. I am moved-to-tears grateful. The day will come when I am no longer on the cutting edge (Year after year, I soberly question my ministry at Memorial as to whether I still am His man). I practice being all right with no longer being Today's Samuel as God raises up Tomorrow's Davids. I practice stepping aside. Our brotherhood lives in dense struggle because Yesterday's men (who were mightily and rightly used at one time) believe they are invincibly Today's men and Tomorrow's as well. Such might actually be the case for a rare few...but not many. Most of us are, or soon will be, has-beens. Saved has-beens, but has-beens just the same.
May God be glorified as we servants have the courage to step down just as bravely as when we first courageously stepped up. May we read His call on this matter for we all feel as Gideon...even when we are in our prime.....the least even while we serve.