This was in the February 2011 Christ Church magazine and it seems most appropriate for the current times (apart from visiting a shut-in)
I was encouraged today with a very simple word from the Lord:
“Just do the next thing!”
Sometimes the “next thing” is to write a letter, make a phone call, or visit a shut-in. Sometimes, the “next thing” is to stop and pray, read the Word, or write in your journal. Sometimes, the “next thing” is to clean your desk, or the car, or your room (that’s usually just for kids, but not always!), or maybe it’s to put away the dishes, take out the rubbish or mow the lawn!. You get the idea, the “next thing” is often a simple action that seems so insignificant, that it just doesn’t appear to be a “God thing”, so we brush it off. When in reality if we will simply just do the “next thing”, then the next thing is easier to do, and then it’s easier to do the next thing, and the next, and the next. Until all those little “next things” make up your whole day!
I was also reminded that if the church would adopt this “do the next thing” attitude, then it could move from feeling overwhelmed with a daunting task and just focus on the “next thing”. Actually, this is what Dr Conrad Lowe taught us in the Church Consultation Seminars he taught. I have taken that phrase and applied it to my own life and we have repeatedly used it when we do church consultations. We have become overwhelmed with the big picture that we have become paralyzed to do the simply, insignificant, “next thing”, so we oftentimes just keep doing what we have always done, hoping to get a different result. They say that is the definition of insanity!
Oswald Chamber’s timeless devotional, “My Utmost For His Highest” has helped me see that this is indeed a spiritual truth that God wants us to learn. Consider these two quotes:
“We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunders of God’s power… and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us. If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him.”
“When the Spirit of God comes, He does not give us visions, He tells us to do the most ordinary things conceivable… whenever God comes, the inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things—the things we would never have imagined God was in, and as we do them we find He is there.”
Chambers referenced the scene in I Kings where Elijah is running from King Ahab. He is hungry and tired and very depressed. (Ever been there?) In that scene God sends an angel to him who says simply, “Arise and eat” (I Kings 19:5). What was Elijah’s “next thing” he needed to do? Get up and eat something! Sometimes just moving forward in the most basic way is all God needs from us. With our obedience comes the solution we are seeking. I hope this thought will help you or someone else who is feeling overwhelmed and even depressed. What “next thing” is God asking you to do? Get up, do whatever it is, and find Him there. I am praying for you and keep asking the Lord to give you wisdom in the simple things!
Dayton Birt is the Conference Superintendent (Bishop) of Redemption Ministries Conference in Eastern Virginia (International Pentecostal Holiness Church)). As in January, he has been quicker to post his message than other bishops!