Here’s a story that resonates with me as a solemniser of weddings.
A Church of England vicar had enough of brides arriving late for their weddings in his two churches.
He decided to impose a £100 fines for any late arrival of more than 10 minutes. The only exception to the fine is delays caused by traffic jams or genuine mishaps. The money collect is then distributed to the organist, bell ringers and choristers who were kept waiting.
The fine proved to be a success. The English vicar has notably observed the brides were now arriving 10 minutes early.
I have often wondered if punctuality is a practice cast to the wind if there were no punitive measures.
In every church I serve there is always the usual number that seem to exhibit a lack of concern for arriving on time for services, meetings and other commitments.
It is would be quite understandable if they were occasionally late due to unforeseen circumstances. But they are habitually late. They have the mindset of not needing to adhere to the appointed time.
Perhaps they think promptness equates to loneliness for they imagine no one else will be there on time. As Gerald Barzan would put it, “Laugh and the world laughs with you, be prompt and you dine alone.”
But a lack of punctuality is fundamentally a theft of someone else’s time. You show a lack of respect for the friends you kept waiting. You show your esteem and courtesy by your punctuality.
Just so, punctuality is a way of honouring especially our God whom we seek to honour by our punctual arrival at services.
I have discovered that by arriving early on Sundays I not only feel less “rush” but also I have the opportunity to meet members and visitors and talk with them before the services.
Let’s pursue promptness. It speaks well of our reliability and dependability just as we would of our MRT trains we expect to arrive on time.
Practice punctuality not because there is an imposed fine but rather it is an important virtue exemplified by our God who does every thing “at the appointed time.”
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NASB)