The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Punctuality
On Time Every Time
As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is a sluggard to those who send him.
If you’ve ever sipped raw vinegar or stood downwind from a campfire, you know exactly what Solomon means. Raw vinegar is so sour it sets the teeth on edge. Hot smoke irritates the eyes. That’s what a sluggard is like when you send him to do a job.
This poor fellow has several problems. He doesn’t understand why you want him when you could have chosen old Joe at the next desk. He’s not very interested in delivering the message because it doesn’t seem important to him. He’s not sure of the address, and besides that, it’s nearly lunchtime, so he’s bound to stop for an hour or so at the local hamburger joint. What should have been a short trip ends up taking the entire day. No wonder the boss gets ulcers just thinking about it.
What is the cure for such deliberate procrastination? To do your work as if God were watching-because He is. Colossians 3:23 reminds us that “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” What does it mean-"working for the Lord"? It means understanding that every deed-whether small or large-is done for Him and in His name. His reputation is at stake when you show up at work fifteen minutes late or leave ten minutes early. People draw conclusions about the Lord Jesus from the way you do your work each day. If you do just enough to slide by but never enough to satisfy your employer, you are like raw vinegar to the teeth and hot smoke to the eyes-an irritation and not a blessing.
Sometimes we hear it said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” That’s good advice if it simply means, “Focus on the things that really matter.” But for the Christian on the job, there is no “small stuff.” Details matter, deadlines count, promises must be kept, assignments must be completed, orders must be filled, records kept, and bills paid.
Punctuality is not the highest or most important issue in life. But it’s not in the bottom ten, either. It matters more than we think. Some of us may have a lousy reputation simply because we don t do our jobs in a timely fashion.
Someone has pointed out that Jesus provides the perfect picture of a man who was never in haste, yet never missed an appointment. Because He was totally committed to doing His Father’s will, He moved with purposeful dignity from one place to another.
Here is a good model for life. If you want to do the will of God on your job, a good place to begin is by showing up on time every time. Others will notice, our Lord will be honored, and you will find that punctuality brings its own reward.
Help me to be like Jesus, who was never in a hurry, never early, never late, but always on time. Amen.
Are you a punctual person? Can you be counted on to be on time every time? Why or why not? What excuses do you make for being late or missing an appointment?
Does your procrastination bother you? If so, what do you plan to do about it? If it doesn’t bother you, please reread this section.
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