Punctuality Still Ranks On My Character Meter
by Dan Blankenship
Charles Dickens once said, "I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time."
I could not agree with the famous author more, and I believe he listed the most important item first. Arriving on time and completing assignments on time have always been at the top of my "show people I have a little integrity" list.
Iím not sure when or where my obsession with punctuality was born, but in my twenty-five years as a member of the American workforce I have come across hundreds of people who do not share my love for on time arrivals. If I had a dollar for every time I witnessed coworkers punching the time clock a few minutes late, I would have enough money to buy that widescreen TV that has thus far eluded my living room decor.
American humorist Franklin P. Jones once commented, "The problem with being punctual is that nobodyís there to appreciate it." When I first read that quote, I laughed out loud. I know firsthand exactly what he was talking about.
I remember showing up at my local library a few minutes before a local authorís club was scheduled to hold their monthly meeting. Twenty minutes later the first regular member entered the room to join me. Forty-five minutes later the last member arrived. The meeting, of course, ran over because everyone, except the new guy, was late. The librarian had to stay over in order to close up the building. At no point did any of my fellow writers show any remorse concerning their inability to make punctuality part of their disposition. I must assume they have not studied Dickensís opinion concerning punctuality.
I once asked a fellow coworker why he had such a lax attitude concerning his scheduled start time. He explained to me that traffic was really bad every morning. I followed up by asking him why he just didnít leave his house a little earlier, thereby ensuring an on time arrival.
"Why would I do that? I donít have to be here until seven. What if there isnít any traffic? I donít want to get here too early," he replied.
I couldnít even think of a reply. I have learned to accept the fact that a large segment of the population has never even heard of the word punctual.
Does the Bible teach us anything about punctuality? I believe it does. Matthew 7:12 states, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (NIV)
The Golden Rule requires us to respect our fellow man. But how much respect are we showing to others when we are consistently late to business meetings, family gatherings, or job assignments? Not much.
Employers are not seeking to promote or reward employees who regard tardiness as a minor concern. And the Bible tells us, "whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17 NIV)
If we are to do everything for the glory of the Lord, I believe we should also do it on time. So the next time you hand in that assignment on time, or arrive at a meeting when you are supposed to, remember that there is somebody there to appreciate it; somebody very important as a matter of fact.
Dan Blankenship lives with his wife and two daughters in Lowell, Indiana. He is the former race director of the Buckley 5 Miler cross country race and has written three short stories appearing in Catalyst Literary Journal. His writing is inspired by the fictional works of C.S. Lewis, Frank Peretti and Randy Alcorn. He is the author of the novel, "The Running Girl," and you can find out more about Dan and his book by visiting http://www.therunninggirl.com