“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” — Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)
Being Tardy Is No Party
One of my pet peeves is tardiness. I absolutely hate being late to an appointment, a game, a meeting, an event. I avoid it at all costs. But more than that, I really don’t like when others are late, or cause me to be late.
As a coach, I used to have a rule: Show up to practice late and you immediately owe me two laps around the field. When players are late, it compromises everything you have planned for your team, which in turn affects all the players. It’s disrespectful and can be harmful to a team if it persists.
In my younger years, I would have a tendency to be late from time to time. Never a habitual problem, but I would often fail to give myself ample time to arrive at my destination in a timely fashion. And even when I did, I was getting there at the exact time – never giving myself a cushion.
What are the consequences of constantly being late? Well, if you are the one who is always running behind, then there are several things that result. First, you are likely always in a rush. And because of this, you cannot help but corners — relationally, professionally and emotionally. You are never able to slow down to invest in the lives of others. You are working on hyper-drive to complete tasks that warrant more focus. And you cannot possibly develop the necessary passion for people or endeavors that are the most meaningful to you. There’s a ripple effect here.
Second, you damage relationships. As if hurting yourself professionally isn’t enough when you are always late, you lose credibility with others when you constantly hold them up. Once or twice in a blue moon is certainly not a big deal. But when you cannot honor others by being somewhere on time, it’s rude. And it’s selfish.
Look, I am not talking about getting caught in an unexpected traffic jam. And I am not talking about arriving late because of an unforeseen family issue. I am speaking specifically about folks who are not only late all the time for everything, but those who refuse to make necessary modifications in their schedules or behaviors to begin to kick the habit.
There is an old saying that goes, “Better an hour too soon than a minute too late.”
If we all began living this way, the changes would be remarkable. You see, for some reason, we believe we are only making the most of our time if we are cramming more and more into it. But this isn’t true. If I have three things going on in my day, and I add three more, what happens? Each of the six tasks suffers. My plate becomes heavy, and the investment I can make into each agenda item becomes more watered down. And on top of it all, I am forced to hurry, compromising my ability to effectively complete each one.
If, instead of running around like mad, we began to value others’ (and our own) schedules by arriving early, we would increase productivity and lower our stress. And we might even be able to slow down enough to catch the things that truly matter to us — the things we are flying by when we are only concerned about our destination, and not the journey.
— C.A. Phillips, NorthStar Church, Kennesaw, Ga.
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