Do the Next Thing

I learned years ago from Elisabeth Elliot, that when you are tired, discouraged, exhausted, confused, whatever, to do the next thing.  This simple advise has carried me through many a trial and many difficulties.

I just learned this phrase is based on a poem by an author unknown.  I found the poem reprinted in Passionate Housewives Desperate for God.   Here it is:


At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
There came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
That, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
Like a low inspiration, do the next thing.

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance, be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons, do the next thing.

If you have not learned this wise counsel previously, I pray do the next thing is just what you need.  If you need encouragement or a vision of what God has for Christian Women, read Passionate Housewives Desperate for God.

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3 comments to Do the Next Thing

  • Tandy Sue Hogate

    You have no idea just how excited I was to find this poem. A dear lady gave me a copy of the poem back when I first started homeschooling 9 years ago and it spent several years on my fridge. I’m sorry to say, that it didn’t make it to Alaska when we moved up here and I’ve missed it so! I even googled it but still…nothing. What a blessing you are! I”m so thankful that I get your newsletter–and that you are also part of the new harvest homestead blog, too.
    Thanks again, for your submission–How wonderful!
    In Christ,

  • Elaine

    You have no idea how timely it was for me to read this. I’ve been so stressed, confused, weary and down right frustrated at times lately with a certain number of trials, but I keep finding whatever I can do…even though some days I hesitate to move towards looking because it is so overwhelming. I am determined to “Do the Next Thing” tomorrow.
    You’ve been truly used by the Lord tonight because of posting this blog.
    Thank you!

  • Nancy Slaughter

    For over 15 years, I have heard Elisabeth Elliott’s voice (in my mind) telling me to “Do the Next Thing”…and my family has heard my verbal response. “The Next Thing would be…(and then the appropriate answer)” is what they have heard me saying. It made for some very interesting one-sided conversations at first, but now it’s just part of who I am. As a matter of fact, I’ve heard, “The Next Thing would be…”, coming from my daughters’ lips! Needless to say, this poem means a lot to me!


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