Do The Next Thing

When it is difficult to know what to do, do the next thing in front of you.

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

– Colossians 3:17 ESV

When Christian missionary, author and speaker, Elisabeth Elliot, found herself a single mother alone on the jungle station she and her husband, Jim, had previously managed together, there were times she wanted to give up in despair.

Jim was killed by the Ecuadorian Waodani tribe who he and four other missionaries had previously made positive contact with. Unbeknownst to Jim and his team, there was a heated argument among the tribe that had nothing to do with them but resulted in the missionaries’ deaths.

Rather than give up in despair, do the next thing, no matter how small.

Afterwards, amid the grief and many challenges she faced, Elisabeth relied on the Lord and prayer to keep her going with the many added duties she had to learn to take care of in her husband’s absence. Rather than give in to her feelings of helplessness and give up, she did the next thing. Whether the next thing was doing the dishes, the laundry or figuring out how to keep the airstrip clear, she took the next step to get through each long day.

Elisabeth was inspired by an old Saxon poem that included:

“Do it immediately, do it with prayer,

do it reliantly, casting all care.

Do it with reverence, tracing His hand

who placed it before you with earnest command.

Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,

Leave all resultings, do the next thing.” *

Are you currently overwhelmed by all you are facing in life? Are you frozen with crippling fear or indecisiveness? Do the dishes need to be done? Or is the laundry piling up? Are you exhausted and in need of a nap? Or is there a phone call you need to make? Pray and ask God for help. Then, do the next thing you know you need to do.

Today’s One Thing

Spend time reading God’s Word and casting your cares on Him. Then do the next thing that needs to be done today.

*Ellen Vaughn, Becoming Elisabeth Elliot, (Nashville, Tennessee; B&H Publishing Group, 2020), 268.

Go Deeper

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