Thursday, August 09, 2007

THE PAIN OF BEING A HAS-BEEN

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.

5 comments:

Lita said...

The day for your "stepping aside" is FAR, FAR, FAR away.

Liz Moore said...

My friend, you show no signs of slowing down or being a has been yet. In fact, every time I see and hear you, just brings more excitement. The day you step down will be the day you go home. And that will be just a new beginning! I appreciate where you are coming from and your realization of the matter. Some do at time needs to step down, but I can't ever imagine that being you. There is no greater encourager of men and of God's word than you. Love you friend!

Matt said...

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." - 2 Cor 4:16

I think you make some really good points and it takes a mature leader to recognize which stage they are at and to recognize the most effective and beneficial next move for the church/ministry to God's people. In the end we all end up renewed.

Greg said...

This is exactly what I went through in my decision to leave ministry. It was not so much that I wanted to leave it, but that I felt I was simply no longer (if in fact I ever was) the man for this job. I felt Long Beach truly needed to move much further than I could ever take them. Thanks, as always, for your thoughts. Much love to you, brother!

The Preacher's Household: said...

"The LORD has sought out a man after His own heart and appointed him leader of His people, because you have not kept the LORD's command". 1 Samuel 13:14b

I am unfamiliar with the book The Annointing, but I can see the distinctions you were making. Saul's problem was he didn't pursue God. Even after this episode in 1 Samuel 13 Saul was used of God. But, he continued to move further and further from God and into pride and fear, until finally the Spirit left.

I have known many servants of God over the years. The distinction between those who were 'has beens' and the ones who continued to be used of God was if they stayed with him? They may have moved into a different role but they still served their King.

May we all continue to be men after God's own heart.
James