January 19, 2024

Be On Time

Written by Boyd Bailey

Respecting another’s time is a very tangible way to treat them as you would want to be treated.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 19, 2043

Treat others just as you want to be treated. Luke 6:31, CEV

In past years, I have been too ambitious with my calendar. What I mean is that I would schedule meetings or calls back-to-back with no allowance for conversations that would run longer than I anticipated. If this started in the morning, then throughout the day, I found myself apologizing for running late. My time indiscretion may have only been five or ten minutes, but I was communicating to my colleagues, clients, or friends that their having to wait on me meant their time was less valuable than mine. Not exactly the vibe I wanted to create coming into a conversation. I am learning that being on time is a very tangible way to show people respect. 

The biblical concept of treating others as you would like to be treated is encapsulated in the Golden Rule, a fundamental principle in how to treat fellow human beings. This principle, stemming from passages like Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31, emphasizes empathy, compassion, and fairness in human interactions. It prompts individuals to consider the feelings, needs, and perspectives of others in the same way they would wish for themselves. Jesus is inviting us to transcend self-interest and practice kindness, respect, and generosity towards everyone, regardless of differences in background, beliefs, or social standing. It challenges individuals to envision the world through the lens of reciprocity, promoting harmonious relationships and fostering a sense of communal responsibility. Embracing this principle requires a conscientious commitment to integrity, empathy, and moral conduct, encouraging individuals to act with empathy and understanding and cultivating an environment of mutual respect, dignity, and goodwill among all members of society. Respecting another’s time is a very tangible way to treat them as we would want to be treated. Being on time is a gift we give to honor others. 

You may have a good handle on managing your calendar. If so, maybe you can coach a friend who struggles with being on time. Kindly remind him that unexpected traffic conditions can be a reason for being late but not an excuse. Of course, there are occasions when being late is justified, but these should be rare and not a regular routine. Your capacity for people interactions or project management will be different than your colleagues, competitors, and friends, so know your limits and resist the temptation to try to keep up with another with more capacity.

Your time is valuable, but so is the importance of another’s time. Most people have jobs, commitments, and calendar restraints, so their desire is not to waste your time or for you to be nonchalant with theirs. Paul gives a good reminder about not having an attitude of superiority toward others, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” (Romans 12:3). Pride can slowly take others for granted, while humility is intentional to personally value a friend or colleague. Being on time sets you up to be present, not hurried but emotionally engaged.  

Begin by imagining your appointment is with Jesus. Would anybody keep Jesus waiting? Of course not. Our Lord and Savior says when we give another a cup of water, we give it to Him. In like manner, you are spending time with Jesus. When you plan to arrive ahead of your scheduled time, you honor Jesus. And in the process of honoring Jesus, you honor the person with whom you are meeting. Consider fewer appointments. So unhurried, there is margin in the conversation for the Spirit to do unexpected work. Being on time gives God time to direct your time together!


Heavenly Father, I praise you for the time you have given me to love others well and to honor them by being on time through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name.


Make it a habit to arrive 15 minutes early for appointments.

Related Reading

Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3; Titus 2:7; 1 Peter 2:17

Worship Resource

Common Gathering: Same God


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