Punctuality is not holding others back with our inadequacies; it is a form of reverence which respects the time of others, and acts quickly when God and others call on us. This shows that you care and respect others. It is realizing that time is important; the time of others is valuable. Time is a treasure and an investment that pays off in eternity. We are not to waste or take advantage of others. We are to strive to do our best with all God has given, including the time and opportunities of our own and that of others (Genesis 18:14; Psalm 56:3; 90:12; Ecclesiastes 3:1-11; Matthew 5:25; Roman 13:11-14; Colossians 4:5).
Lateness, Tardiness, Hindering others and Procrastination are all opposites. Many great philosophers have stated, "Time is the furnace in which we burn." Our life and opportunities are very limited. When we detain others, we are infringing on their character and opportunities. We are, in fact, wasting what God has given us and preventing others from exercising what God has given them. When we impede others, we are robbing them of their gifts and opportunities.
Many people consider Punctuality not worth the effort of study and practice. We live in a time when we are slaves to the urgency of schedules and appointments, where our meetings and outings dictate our use of time, and even our relationships. We over-commit and over-schedule, and do not give it a second glance. Yet, time is important, and our management of time will give others a glimpse of our priorities and character. Remember, God considers punctuality important. Just look up, "at the appointed time," in a concordance and see how many passages you find where God is concerned with our being on time. We may not see being timely as important, but God does! We are on this earth for such a short amount of time-compared with eternity-and we need to make the most of our time and opportunities. When we are careless with time, we hold others up, and miss valuable opportunities. Our time is a treasure that is given to us, and we are responsible to dish it out, fairly, in a clear and concise way-to the best of our ability, and accordingly to the situation.
Suppose you could live your complete lifetime in one day. You are born at 7:00 a.m. and go to bed and die at 11:00 p.m. You have a total of 16 hours and a lifespan equivalent of 80 years. At 10:00 a.m. in the morning, you will be 15; at 12:00 noon, you would be well into your 20s, and at 3:00 p.m. you would be 40, and half way though your life. When the clock turns 6:00 p.m. you would be 55, and at 8:00 p.m. you would be 65. So, you get the picture. The question is, what are you doing for your day? Do you see how and why time is so important, and something that we should not waste? Yes, we need entertainment, leisure, and to have fun. This character goes hand in hand with being flexible. Actually, we can be a pain to others when we are stingy with our time, and overbearing when we disregard it!
Good character is also realizing others will not always have good character, or at the least, good etiquette. Therefore, when others do hold us up, our response is in the realm of the other characters, all synergistically working together. We can arrange our plans around others without being hurt or disappointed. Our purpose is to model Christ-likeness, not to appease our whims, desires, or agenda, or be bruised when others infringe upon us or cause us distress. As the Scriptures indicate, our punctuality is based on who we are in Christ, and nothing else. Still think time is not important? Consider this. The more time you invest with God through the spiritual disciplines, the more you will grow in faith, maturity, and character. The more time you spend with family, the closer you will develop your relationship, and the fewer problems you will have as a parent. When time is misplaced by overloaded schedules or fears, we become absent from life's precious moments and opportunities, and, as a result, our effectiveness and character will also be absent!
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character, this fruit of Punctuality, from God's most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:
- How do I exhibit Punctuality in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop a better willingness to be on time, to show that I value people?
- What blocks Punctuality from working and being exhibited in me?
- How can I make Punctuality function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture (1 Kings 19:20-21; Matthew 25:1-13; Esther 4: 9-14; Luke 2:1-12)
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Exodus 8:10-11; Matthew 24:48-51; 25:1-13; Luke 9:60-62; Acts 24:24-26)Further Questions
- How would you define Punctuality? Are you a person who is careful about how he/she uses time? If so, do you slow others up?
- What part does Punctuality play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? How can mismanaging our time harm our relationships, as well as other aspects of life and work?
- How does being a Procrastinator counteract Punctuality? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a person who is always in a rush, and tardy?
- What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are hindering others?
- When have you been filled with Punctuality the most?
- Can you think of a situation where you failed to be On Time, but, you should have been?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with increased Punctuality? Do you use your schedule to glorify God and help others, or is it just a private matter where you are not concerned with time?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Punctuality into action in a specific instance, such as, how can I make sure I keep my schedule focused on God's priorities and not just my own? How can I plan things out effectively, being prompt, yet not being bruised when they do not work out? How can I protect myself from the time hog of procrastination?