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Do the Next Thing {A Reminder from Elisabeth Elliot}

Inside: Do the Next Thing has been a favorite saying of mine from Elisabeth Elliot, and I thought we could use a little encouragement from her words today.

"Do the Next Thing" has been a favorite saying of mine from Elisabeth Elliot and I thought we could use a little encouragement from her words today.  @mferrell

 My heart can get too easily overwhelmed when my task list begins to look longer than the hours in my day. I’m sharing a favorite saying I remind myself that I first heard from Elisabeth Elliot, “Do the Next Thing.” The poem where Mrs. Elliot first heard those words was written by Mr. George A. Paull (scroll a bit from the beginning of the book linked), and it was from a book written by Eleanor Amerman Sutphen titled, Ye Nexte Thynge.

You can read part of the episode below (5 minutes) or listen in the to podcast (17 minutes)

Listen to the Podcast Below or Subscribe on Your Favorite App:


Learning from Elisabeth Elliot: A List of Resources

Do the Next Thing Radio Transcript from Gateway to Joy

Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot 

This has been a favorite saying of mine from Elisabeth Elliot, and I thought we could use a little encouragement from her words today. The saying comes from an old Saxon legend as she shares below:

Have you had the experience of feeling as if you’ve got far too many burdens to bear, far too many people to take care of, far too many things on your list to do? You just can’t possibly do it, and you get in a panic and you just want to sit down and collapse in a pile and feel sorry for yourself.

Well, I’ve felt that way a good many times in my life, and I go back over and over again to an old Saxon legend, which I’m told is carved in an old English parson somewhere by the sea. I don’t know where this is. But this is a poem which was written about that legend. The legend is “Do the next thing.” And it’s spelled in what I suppose is Saxon spelling. “D-O-E” for “do,” “the,” and then next, “N-E-X-T.” “Thing”-“T-H-Y-N-G-E.”

~Elisabeth Elliot

Do The Next Thing

“At an old English parsonage down by the sea,

there came in the twilight a message to me.

Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven

that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.

And all 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 tomorrow, child of the King,

trust that 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.

Do the next thing.”

~ Mrs. George A. Paull

My prayer for you today is that in the midst of overwhelming piles and to-do items, you will trust in the One who knows all things and, with a faithful heart, just “Do the Next Thing.”

Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot

Learning from Elisabeth Elliot: A List of Resources

The Essence of Feminity

Are We Too Busy?


  1. Eugenia McQueen says:

    Elisabeth Elliot has been my mentor / spiritual heroine for years. I was blessed once to have her and Lars in my home for a few hours. I have ALL of her books and a document of specific quotes that have taught and blessed me with truth! I so love hearing that she is your heroine, as well.
    I hope you are aware that Gateway to Joy can be heard every day on, Bible Broadcasting Network.
    Your podcasts are blessings to me. Thank you!

  2. Betty Russell says:

    I have recently subscribed to your blog, I am so happy I found you. Elizabeth Elliot is one of my favorite Christian writers & leaders. She has been gone awhile I know but I still remember the broadcasts I heard every morning. She was so full of grace and God’s wisdom. I look forward to your e-mails. This is a lonely time for many who are isolated due to the virus and we need your encouragement in these trying times. God is alive & his ears are a tuned to our cry (Psalms 34:15) & we must remember that each day. Betty

  3. I’ve heard her teach this and needed the reminder this morning especially! Thank you!

  4. Linda Sears says:

    Do the next thing – sometimes that’s all I can do, and that is enough. I had to pop over from The Better Mom when I saw your title — I included this phrase in my own post today!
    Thank you for sharing the full poem here. I enjoyed it very much.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I love the pretty journal full of lists?! What wisdom is here! My husband was just encouraging me with this same kind of ‘can do’ attitude because I’ve bit a bit overwhelmed lately! Thank you! CC in VA

  6. Your title drew me in because she is one of my favorite people on Earth. Thank you for sharing!
    Found you over at Raising Mighty Arrows!

  7. Meghan Carver says:

    I’ve never heard that story before. Life is overwhelming at times, and I appreciate the encouragement this morning!

  8. Modern Day Disciple says:

    One of my favorite all time quotes by a favorite Christian Writers! She said this at a speaking engagement I was blessed to be at in 1998 and I wrote down every word, still have the notes!

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