Pain, grief, and discouragement all have a way of making us want to do nothing.  They isolate us, weary us, and immobilize us. We think, if we just stay idle and rest a while, then things will get better. While sleep and rest are good and healthy, don’t be confused into thinking that you’re to remain in a place of nothingness. Sometimes the best thing to do, is to do the next thing. Do the next thing. That’s right.

One of my heroes in the faith is Elisabeth Elliot. Married to Jim Elliot, Elisabeth suffered great loss through the martyrdom of her husband in 1956.   It was through her losses, that the Body of Christ received great gains.

An important lesson I learned from Elisabeth Elliot was to do the next thing. I needed to get up and take a shower or do the dishes or mow the lawn. After the loss of our son Eddie, I didn’t want to do anything. Nothing. That was a very unhealthy place to be. But I can hear Elisabeth say, “Do the next thing Ed”.

Elisabeth learned this truth from the poem below. Although the author is unknown, the truth contained therein is well known. It is from this old English poem that we learned the importance of doing the next thing.

Please friend, decide today, to do the next thing. Right now.

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, as it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on 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 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 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,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee, DO THE NEXT THING.