An Old Phrase for a New Week

I’m sitting down for a brief spell of “rest time” this Saturday afternoon to share an old poem that I read long, long ago in Elisabeth Elliot’s The Shaping of a Christian Family. Its key phrase has been cropping up in my thoughts lately, and the words I once read as a high school girl now resound with greater compassion and comfort. There have been days lately when I felt that I could not “doe” much at all, and confessed to God that if He did not send help, I did not see a way to go on. He answered every time, and I want to record here that He did, lest the day come when I discount the strength of His arm or His love.

I’m writing again these days, friends, and hope to have some of it up this week! Until then, as I type out this poem letter by letter, I pray peace and steadiness for you as we each step forward to 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, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours 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, guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust 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 resultings, doe the next thynge.

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, doe the nexte thynge.

– Unknown


Runswick bay, thatched cottage. North Yorkshire, by Philip Edmondson.