What’s Next?

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I am a West Wing fan. Steve and I are currently watching the series for the third time since it initially aired in 1999.[1]Over the seven years that the series ran, the characters developed into nearly-real people. Their quirks and pet phrases sometimes pop into to my mind in the middle of a normal day.

President Jed Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, is fond of saying, “What’s next?” So am I. When my kids were small, they were often conscripted into chore time (right before guests arrived, as I recall) with these instructions: “Complete the first task I give you, then come ask me what’s next. I’ll give you another chore. When that one’s done, ask, ‘What’s next?’ again.” Come to think of it, my dear husband has been known to follow the same pattern when he knows I’m in a hurry to get our home ready for company.

“What’s next?” is often a good way for us to approach our walk of faith. But do we? God shows us a task. Perhaps it’s an act of service, a bit of self-discipline or a new challenge. We want to know why such a thing must be done. We doubt our abilities, or we see the task at as too trivial. Truth be told, sometimes we just don’t want to obey. We hem and haw, wasting valuable time and energy. Why not simply do as our heavenly Father has asked, and then go back to him and ask, “What’s next?” when the task is done?

In one episode, President Bartlet says, “When I say ‘What’s next?’ it means I’m finished with the issue at hand and I’m ready to move on.” Learning to move on—there’s another place where obedience to our loving Lord comes into play. We need not spend the precious moments of our lives looking back at our pasts. Paul wrote in, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-14).

We have been called. God assigns each of us the tasks best suited to us. And so, for you this week, what’s next?

[1] If you choose to give West Wing a try, be warned: the first episode is atypically inappropriate.

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