Do the Next Thing

  • Feb. 8, 2016
  • #8811

The Lord gives us grace sufficient for each day, and through faith we can take the next step of obedience.

Do the Next Thing

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a lesson from Elisabeth Elliot.

You will remember Elisabeth as the young missionary who went to a South American jungle with her husband, Jim, and two-year-old daughter to reach the Auca Indians for Christ. They were only there a matter of months when the Indians speared Jim Elliott and his missionary companions to death. Elisabeth, still a newlywed, was filled with grief. And yet she remained true to the call God had placed on her life and Jim’s. She decided to stay in the jungle with her daughter to carry on the work. Her story made headlines around the world. And although she never would have planned it this way, God ended up using Elisabeth’s testimony to reach an entire generation for Christ.

But looking back, you have to wonder: just how did this young woman do it? How did she move forward through her imposing wall of grief? Well, let me quote from Elisabeth herself. She writes, “Do you find yourself on Monday morning feeling like your soul is scorched, or terribly aware of your inadequacies, and fearful of what is to come? Since God is still in heaven, just carry on and do the next thing. Take the next step of obedience. Do you worry how your children will turn out, or how the finances will look at the end of the month? Resist the allure of self pity, and just do the next thing. We are given enough grace just for the next step. So do not fret about what lies around the bend. Faithfully take the next step, and you will make it home safely in the end.”

That is so like Elisabeth Elliot. She was inspired by an anonymous poem that she had read during her time of grief. And it is called – as you might guess – “Do the Next Thing.”

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

I hope that little poem blesses you, as it has me; it certainly blessed Elizabeth. And if you are suffering some deep affliction, and you feel emotionally stuck with no strength to go on, if you feel like collapsing, but you know that would be giving in, then do, please do The next load of laundry. Or do the next Lesson in your Bible study. Or do the next Pile of bills on your checkbook. Move forward, never backward. Take life one step at a time, like Elisabeth Elliot, and soon you will find strength not only for the rest of the day, but a bright – a very bright hope – for tomorrow. Were you blessed by that favorite poem of Elisabeth’s? Then download it today on my radio page at


© Joni and Friends


Have You Been Encouraged?

  • Your email address will not be published with your comment or be displayed anywhere on our website.
  • We do not rent or sell your personal information to other companies or individuals.
  • For more information please see our privacy policy.