Do the Next Thing

This poem hangs on my refrigerator; I'm in a season where I need the daily reminder desperately.  I thought I'd post it here for you to see, too (I do not know the original author, but I know Elisabeth Elliott has quoted from it):

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors 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 for 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 thee, do the next thing.

30 thoughts on “Do the Next Thing

  1. Betsy says:

    I love that! I’ve never heard it before, but it kind of reminds me of the saying, “Take it one day at a time”. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t give up and trust God to handle the details, right?

  2. nikkipolani says:

    Oh, Shannon. How often I’ve responded to people who ask about my hopes and dreams only to hear me say something mundane that I just do what God gives me to do at the moment.

  3. Kari says:

    I absolutely love Elisabeth Elliot! I grew up with my mom always encouraging me with that simple yet profound phrase, “do the next thing”…it is still something she reminds me of to this day! So true…thanks for sharing this!! 🙂

  4. Maureen says:

    You’ve obviously hit a nerve with all of us. Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem and it’s powerful message. I know I needed to hear it right now, and I am sure many others feel the same way from the comments above.
    God bless you for reminding me!

  5. celina says:

    you will never know what this poem just meant to me…i in a struggle at the moment against my self….I suffer with depression and am at a low spot right now..i get overwhelmed…very easily,..so thank you…this will be getting posted and written and copied, anything i can do to make it stick..

  6. Rebekah says:

    I came to your site just now to avoid what I really need to be doing.
    “Do the next thing.” Well, it seems that I won’t be avoiding what I need to be doing now, and I won’t have the guilt afterwards of not doing it, because I’m going to “do the next thing.”
    Thank you for sharing!

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