Monday, April 08, 2013

Do The Next Thing

Gathering Flowers - Tuck postcard
Gathering Flowers by Lynn

This is the poem from which Elisabeth Elliot devised her famous "do the next thing" advice. I thought you might enjoy it, since we've been talking about time management. I haven't been able to find an author's name for this; the closest I've found is that this poem was quoted to Elisabeth by her mother.

Do The Next Thing

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, guidance are given.
 Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
 trust that 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 resultings,
Do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
 working or suffering be thy demeanor,
 in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
in the light of His countenance,
be thy psalm. 
Do the next thing.
Author Unknown


  1. I've loved that since I first read it via Elisabeth Elliot. Sometimes it helps me to have a list of tasks so when I'm at a "I'm not sure what to do next" stage and tempted to go back to the computer, I can remind myself of some of those tasks that aren't urgent but still need work. That seems to work better for me than a rigid schedule.

    1. I thought of you when I decided to post this, Barbara! :) I am always tempted to go back to the computer. You have a good idea to have some non-urgent things ready to do when that urge hits. Tomorrow I have a post scheduled on some of the time-management tools that have worked for me. Yours would fit right in!

  2. Oh, I love this! Thank you for sharing it!

    1. I was pretty sure my readers would love it! Glad you did, Valerie!

  3. I read that in a book by Mrs Elliot. When she had lost loved ones or there is an especially hard trial that she would remember this poem from her mom. She said having to do routine things like making beds, doing dishes, etc. was comforting. Doing the next thing helped us to go on living when we sometimes just would sit in sorrow.
    I have remembered that several times in the last 2 years of trials in my family. YES IT DOES HELP-to do the next thing and go on doing what God has for us to do.


Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!

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