4-Minute Sermons

Punctuality – A Four-Minute Sermon

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky


Contributed by Clyde C. Miller
Senior Pastor (Retired), First Christian Assembly, Cincinnati, OH

October 30, 2001



PUNCTUALITY! Does it mean being early or on time?

Well, actually, it means being on time, -which is another way of saying, “keep your appointments”, which is another way of saying, “keep your word.”

My dad used to say, -whenever I was leaving for some important date,- “Always give yourself plenty of time so you won’t have to rush.” But I think I was born with “rushing” in my blood. I don’t like getting “there” early and having to wait on everyone else. That seems a waste of time to me.


An older friend of mine always had to be “there” first. He said that, even as a boy, he always had to be first in line at the movie theater ticket booth. Me? -I just like to be on time. But alas, I have found that being “on time” usually involves planning to be there a little early. Otherwise, I’m usually late, and while I don’t mind the “early-birds” (munching smugly on their worms) waiting on me if I’m on time, -really on time-, I don’t like “stealing” time from them if I’m late.


“Stealing time” from them? -Yes! Once, as a pastor, I began to calculate lateness of the members in terms of dollars. Counting the number of people who came into church services late, I added the approximate number of moments, converted them into hours and multiplied the hours by an average hourly wage and was slightly astounded by how much the tardy folks were “stealing” from God! But isn’t the term “stealing” a little harsh? Not really. Think about it. What is your most valuable asset? Is it not time? I cannot remember which British monarch it was, but her famous deathbed wail went something like this: “Half of my kingdom for another day” (or was it an hour?). Time doesn’t seem so valuable unless you’re running out of it. When my tardiness keeps waiting someone who was on time, I have taken precious moments from his or her most valuable commodity.


But aren’t there people who were born with “lateness genes”? Alas, I think it is so. What can such a poor soul do? Let me suggest a few helps for the hapless:

  1. Don’t make resolutions, make plans.
  2. Always carry an “on time” watch and look at it regularly.
  3. Value the persons whom God has put into your life to help you be on time.
  4. Like my dad said, “Give yourself plenty of time and you won’t have to rush”.
  5. Refuse to loiter or be distracted on the way.
  6.  Reinforce your efforts toward your new life habit by complimenting yourself every time you are on time or slightly early.


And finally, on the matter of punctuality, a word to the “extreme early-birds”: Don’t get too pompous or self-righteous about being the “first on the perch”. In your effort to “get there sooner”, you may have forfeited “smelling–or even noticing–the roses” along the way. On time is all that’s required, but it is required. Check your watches, everyone.



This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.