Let's Not Be Late!

In the Lord’s church, there are members who are seemingly always late for services. Some of them barely arrive in time to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Their late arrival is comparable to a flock of geese, complete with the flurry of wings and constant “honking” (talking). There is much confusion and disorder with them rushing around to find a seat, talking to fellow members, grabbing a song book, etc.

To address the problem of some members being late, elders have tried moving the time for services back by thirty minutes, but to no avail. The same members will still be late. Brethren, habitual tardiness is a symptom of an attitude of mind that says, (1) “We do not consider the appointed time for services to be very serious – our interests and what we do are more important”; and (2) “We do not respect the Person with whom we have an appointed time. We have such little regard for Him that we do not mind wasting His time as He waits for us. Can we imagine someone being late for an appointment with an important government dignitary? How much more so for our Heavenly Father!

Each of us understands the importance of being on time in secular affairs. In fact, our jobs demand it. Stores operate within a time frame of certain work hours. Schools require students to be on time for classes. Scripture also addresses the need to be prepared and on time. In the parable of the 10 virgins, the wise virgins were prepared for the coming of the bride groom, but when the foolish went to get oil for their lamps and returned, the door was closed because they were too late (Matthew 25:1-13).

Of course, there are always unavoidable circumstances that can delay us, such as getting caught in traffic or having to wait for a never-ending train, etc. But there is no justification for “doing our own thing” – not planning or preparing, or just being plain too lazy to get up and around. We need not just be “on time” – we need to be early to services so that we might properly prepare our minds for engaging in worship to our Heavenly Father.

There is an appointment for which none of us will be late – “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment ….” (Hebrews 9:27). If we are habitually late to our spiritual appointments here on earth, we may hear a voice saying, “It’s too late for you.

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets