Punctuality—A Mark of Thoughtfulness
1 “Better late than never!” or “I may come late to the meetings, but I am there!” Have you heard someone make such expressions? But what has the individual missed by coming late to the meetings? Perhaps he missed the joyful singing, which is an essential part of our worship. Or, he missed the privilege of uniting with the congregation in prayer. Latecomers are not there to benefit from an interchange of encouragement before the meetings. Also, when we arrive late, we may distract others and prevent them from receiving the full benefit of the program.—Eccl. 3:1; Rom. 1:11, 12.
2 Punctuality is a mark of loving consideration and thoughtfulness. It requires good planning and foresight. It is true that there may be times when one is unavoidably late in arriving at a meeting. Public transportation may be delayed, or the car may break down. We must make sure, however, that a lack of good planning, indifference or simply not leaving home on time does not result in our being habitual latecomers. We ought to make a genuine effort to be present before the meetings begin.
3 Some persons may be tardy because they have not seen the importance of training themselves to be punctual. One who is habitually late, without good reason, may lose the respect of others. How so? In the minds of many he may be viewed as being thoughtless or unreliable and thus considered undependable in regard to other matters as well. On the other hand, being punctual is a way of displaying the fruitage of Jehovah’s spirit.—Gal. 5:22, 23.
4 How encouraging it is to come to the meetings and find the elders and ministerial servants there, waiting to greet us, giving us a warm feeling of deep appreciation for the fine theocratic family of which we are a part.—Rom. 15:7.
5 Arriving on time is also important when meeting for field service. Punctuality results in more time being spent in the all-important preaching and disciple-making work. But if circumstances make you late for the meeting for field service and you want to work with the group, you may be able to meet the publishers in the territory.
6 Our punctuality will build respect for us and for the organization we represent. Yes, punctuality reflects thoughtfulness. It demonstrates orderliness. (1 Cor. 14:40) For example, when invited for dinner, your being punctual shows consideration for your host and the other guests. Is it not true that being on time for spiritual meals with the congregation is even more important? We should always show respect for our Host, Jehovah God, and for his other guests, as well as for the provision of spiritual food.
7 Parents can set a good example for their children by being punctual. All of us, including our children, should recommend ourselves and the organization we represent by demonstrating punctuality. This may well be included in our application of Paul’s words: “In no way are we giving any cause for stumbling, that our ministry might not be found fault with; but in every way we recommend ourselves as God’s ministers.”—2 Cor. 6:3, 4.