Do The Next Thing

This week I was encouraged and strengthened by an old poem. Elisabeth Elliot is the incredible missionary who continued to serve the Amazon tribal people after those very ones murdered her husband. She remained on the mission field with her little girl for many years, persevering through pain to not only serve her Savior, but to carry out the legacy of her beloved husband, Jim Elliot. It’s hard to imagine the deep grief, pain and loss she endured during her missionary service. During that time, she popularized an old poem. The poem is simple but full of encouraging truths for all who follow Jesus. The poem goes like this:

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.

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