Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Do the Next Thing

Here is a poem which contains much wisdom for Christian living in general and is very helpful for pastoral ministry as well. I found it in Elisabeth Elliot’s The Shaping of a Christian Family (pg.178-179). Elisabeth Elliot’s writings have meant a lot to me along the way, and I have often heard her discuss her “do the next thing” philosophy. I did not realize until recently that her language came from this poem which her mother had. There is much simple wisdom here. Do you find yourself on Monday feeling your soul is scorched, terribly aware of your inadequacies, fearful of what is to come? Since God is still in heaven and His steadfast Word declares His love for you, just carry on and do the next thing. Take the next step of obedience. Do you worry how your children will turn out, what the future will hold for your church, how the finances will look at the end of the month? Resist the allure of self pity, and just take the next step of obedience. We are typically given enough grace just for the next step. Fret not about what lies around the bend. Perform faithfully the next step, and we will make it home safely in the end.

This poem is a balm to my soul.

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: “DOE THE NEXTE THYNGE.”

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,
Thrust them with Jesus, doe the nexte thynge.

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, doe the nexte thynge

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, doe the nexte thynge.



Rev.J. Theodore Helms said...

Brother Ray, wonderful way to start a Monday. Thanks.

Gordon Cloud said...

What a great poem. "Do the next thing" is such a simple yet so profound thought.

Thanks for sharing this.

Helen said...

E. Elliot has been such a huge impact on my spiritual walk and thank you so much for highlighting something so important. Great and beautiful poem!

Donya said...

Thank you so much for this - it came at just the right time. We have just received the news that the IMB, our mission agency, is asking for people to consider early retirement. The news is rather dire and the the scope of those who qualify for this package means that a complete restructuring is at hand.

This was quite comforting as we pray about our call, our TCK children and that next step.

Donya Kesler