Being Tardy is No Party
by C.A. Phillips
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. Proverbs 21:5 (ESV)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)
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 that 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 that we are flying by when we are only concerned about our destination, and not the journey.
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C.A. Phillips is a lifelong sports enthusiast and youth baseball coach, and currently serves as the Communications Pastor and Director of Men’s Groups at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, Ga. He lives in Kennesaw with his wife, Amy, and his two sons, Chaz and Chandler.
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