Punctuality – A Four-Minute Sermon
Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
Contributed by Dr. Paul E. Toms
Senior Pastor (Retired), Park Street Church, Boston, MA
October 15, 2001
ARE YOU INVESTING WITH TIMELINESS?
I. WHAT IS PUNCTUALITY?
“What a way to run a railroad”. This was often said derisively when a train got off schedule and ran late. In the old days, trains were famous for running right on time, punctually that is! Today some people seem to lose all sense of time. They meander, they wander, they seem to live in another world – not the one that requires attention and responsibility. Some people always seem to run late. Some cultures even have become known for lack of punctuality, and in the Islands people often joke about “Hawaiian Time”. But for others, punctuality is an important characteristic. Some of us are even a bit annoying by always wanting to be “on time”, if not a little early.
Punctuality is being on time; timeliness. Punctuality is very closely related todependability and responsibility, which we have emphasized in earlier sermons. It is related to the stewardship of our time and other resources. It is also related to our love for other people; for lack of it can show disrespect and cause frustration, confusion and interruption of fellowship with others. We need to be punctual.
II. THE BIBLE INDICATES IT IS IMPORTANT
In the Bible there is significant emphasis on time and its tremendous value. Ecclesiastes 3 speaks very clearly about there being a time for this and that. And it just might be that we will miss some of this if we are not paying attention to our own responsibility.
Illustrative of timeliness and punctuality, we have most importantly the example of God Himself. God is never late! He sent forth Jesus “when the time had fully come” (Galatians 4:4) – at just the right time. And at just the right time God sent the star to guide the wise men from the East to Jerusalem and then to the manger in Bethlehem where Jesus was born (Matthew 2:1-2,9-10). Again and again we read in the Bible, “At that time, the Lord said…” or “At that time the Lord did…” He has never been late. In prophetic utterances we see His dependability, e.g. Ezekiel 7 dramatically announces, “This is now the end. The Day is here, the Day has come, the time has come, the day has arrived.” All this was exactly as God had planned. Jesus often said, “My time is not yet come”, and then one day he announced, “Now is my hour.” Our Lord was on a schedule, and He kept it!
There are things to be done!
“Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless do, but as wise (sensible, intelligent) people, making the very most of the time….” (Ephesians 5:15-16, Amplified Bible)
The Lord entrusts to you and me our time, our other resources, and our life. He expects us to manage all of these well for Him (Matthew 25:15-29; Luke 12:41-48), and will hold us accountable for our use of them (2 Corinthians 5:10). Our management of our time and resources has impact on both this life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:7-8, 1 Corinthians 3:10-13). Being timely, punctual and dependable affects the efficiency of our use of time and resources (and those of others), as well as our loving consideration of others. Punctuality, timeliness and dependability are therefore very important in managing the investment of our time and resources well.
But there is one overriding principle that touches all of our lives, and that is the whole question of our testimony for the cause of our Lord. To be punctual and dependable is in keeping with a good testimony for Christ. I believe He is honored by this characteristic.
John Wesley said- “Do all the good you can-by all the means you can-in all the places you can-to all the people you can-as long as ever you can.” And could I add, And be as punctual as you can! (Citation from Christianity Today, Vol. 36, No. 14)
III. APPLICATION: ARE YOU INVESTING WITH TIMELINESS?
Let’s spend these closing moments quietly with the Lord in prayer. In your life today, are you investing your time, your resources and your life in things that count both in this life and the life to come? Are you maximizing the effectiveness of your investments by your timeliness, punctuality and dependability? Thank the Lord He has a wonderful plan for your life, and for the blessings of all His gifts of time and resources He has given you. Ask Him to help you see yourself in terms of punctuality and dependability – what should investing with timeliness look like in your life? Ask Him to forgive you for the past, and show you steps you need to take. Commit to Him to take these steps with His help. And thank Him for His patience with you, for loving you and for helping you.
This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.