I keep a notebook of wise sayings and quotes from people that sit around my table or from books I read – there is much to be gleaned from others and I love little tidbits like this saying a little old lady slipped into a very ordinary conversation when we sat chatting one day.
It was something she said her father use to say and that she, as an aged woman in her 80’s, still found encouraging to think about and keep her on task;
If you don’t do what you need to do when you are thinking about it, how will you do it when you are not thinking about it?
It has been ages now since I heard this gem and find it to be a wonderful little challenge. It reminds me of something my grandpa told me he tried to put into practice each day, and is another treasure from one who had lived long, seen much, and loved his Lord;
“Do one thing every day that you don’t want to do.”
There is much to be done in the every day, and at times that is overwhelming. But we are not tasked with doing everything, and we should not expect that from ourselves.
We need to be faithful with the task God has put in front of us, being faithful and diligent with the little things.
The mundane things, the things no one thanks us for, the hard things. The everyday art of living.
Some days the one thing I do that I don’t want to do is my pile of dishes. Some days that is as far as I can stretch myself.
But we need to keep moving. This life God has called us to is one that is to be run with endurance. But not a senseless run.
It is still a great paradox to me that we are to run with endurance and yet also be still and know that He is God.
Being still before God is the only way we can truly run with endurance – and doesn’t it just line up so fittingly with how God’s ways are not our ways?
If you want to be great in His kingdom, serve.
If you want to be rich, give what you have away.
Want to run with endurance? Be still.
No value can be placed on the quiet, still moments spent alone with the Lord each morning. And that time with Him gives purpose and direction to each days steps.
We all have our to-do lists and endless tasks to accomplish and setting our priorities with the daily communication with God is both refreshing and a very practical step.
There is a poem entitled Do the Next Thing. It is one that Elisabeth Elliot quotes or references in her writings and you can read the poem in full here (page 2).
She shares more of her thoughts;
“When I went back to my jungle station after the death of my first husband, Jim Elliot, I was faced with many confusions and uncertainties. I had a good many new roles, besides that of being a single parent and a widow. I was alone on a jungle station that Jim and I had manned together. I had to learn to do all kinds of things, which I was not trained or prepared in any way to do. It was a great help to me simply to do the next thing.
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.
The poem says, “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.” That is a wonderfully saving truth. Just do the next thing.
We need to be wise and intentional with how we invest our time. Every use of our time is an investment. We invest in our habits and our character by the way we chose to spend our time, and that should encourage us to be mindful about how we are investing into our future selves.