Elisabeth Elliot has always been a mentor of mine from afar. Ever since I heard of her and Jim’s story while attending a Steven Curtis Chapman concert in the early 2000’s, I was so inspired to live a life devoted to God.
As I got older and seasons changed, I found myself drawn more to her work and writings of serving God on the mission field and her role as a wife and a woman and dealing with the loss of 3 husbands.
In her book Let Me Be a Woman, she writes, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”
As a woman, she was called to the jungles of Equador with her first husband, Jim. Early into their journey, Jim went on a trip to the jungles with 4 other men and was speared to death by the natives. A short while later, Elizabeth packed her bags and went to live with them and her infant daughter to share the Good News of the Gospel. Today, there are many churches planted and the village now reaches out to the surrounding villages about the salvation only found in Christ. Her mission work in Equador to the people that killed her husband is unfathomable. However, she went and served God by taking it one day at a time.
Even when she was overwhelmed with her daily tasks of Bible Translation, running the boys school, making radio calls, making sure the path from her hut to the airstrip was always cleared, and just the struggles of living in the deep jungles, she was reminded of an old Saxon poem she had read many years before.
I have read this poem many times over and listened to her commentary. When I feel overwhelmed with my daily tasks, or my to do list piles up, I think, “Do the next thing”. As a homemaker and a wife, God has called me to serve Him with what He has given me. Making my home a pleasant place to live. Not perfect, but pleasant. Sometimes doing the next thing is washing the dishes, or kissing my husband. Maybe it is praising God for all of His rich blessings He has given me in this day.
Homemaking is a great gift. Although it can feel mundane at times, taking care of my home is a sacrifice to God. The daily routines and rituals. This is a high calling. If you have never read this poem or are overwhelmed today, I pray it encourages your heart to do the next thing.
For more of Elisabeth Elliot’s works, check out her podcast “Gateway to Joy”, and more of her story in her book, Through the Gates of Splendor.
Do the Next Thing
From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message for 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.