On God’s Time

One sign we are living in the last days is an increasing number of people not keeping their promises. While we might think of individuals who dishonor their marriage vows or refuse to pay their bills, another way people break promises is not being punctual. The dictionary defines punctual as “happening or doing something at the agreed or proper time.”

If we tell someone we’ll pick him up in 5 minutes, we shouldn’t purposely arrive 30 minutes later. I have a close friend who has a weakness in this area. At least he apologizes when showing up late. On the other hand, I’ve dealt with people who frequently dawdle and don’t think it’s a big deal. What they are saying by their actions is, “My time is more valuable than your time.”

Some cultures don’t value punctuality as much as others. While ministering in Germany a few years ago, I noticed the Germans themselves were often on time but a lot of the migrants there weren’t. One night I had to wait around for an Asian man I was staying with who took extra time working on a ministry project at somebody else's house. He originally agreed to drive us home by a certain time. When I reminded him that Jesus said to “…let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’” (Matthew 5:37), this man became very defensive.

A pastor told me about a time he was the guest speaker at a Native American church in Oklahoma. Many of the congregation members walked in late during the service. That prompted this pastor to talk about the importance of being on time. The congregation must have felt convicted. When the pastor came back to this church a couple years later, he noticed a sign posted up that read, “We are not on Indian time, we are on God’s time.”

The Lord certainly expects us to keep our word when we agree to do something. Look at the Parable of the Two Sons in Matthew 21…

28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 
29 He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. 
30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. 
31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.”

Students are taught not to be tardy for class. Most employees show up at their jobs on time or else they might get fired. Shouldn’t we show that same kind of respect for our friends, loved ones, and especially God? 

“LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart…he honors those who fear the LORD; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change” - Psalm 15:1-2, 4

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