What Does the Clock Say?
Which best describes you on a typical Sunday morning?
You get to church 15 minutes early. You straighten the songbooks in the pews. You decide to open the door for everyone as they filter into the building. You spend time greeting people and chatting. You select a seat near the front so you won't be distracted. Your mind is focused because you already spent time in prayer at home before you arrived.
You get to church 15 minutes late. You tiptoe into the sanctuary, trying not to draw attention to yourself. You slip into a seat in the back row, hoping not to disturb anyone. You try to concentrate, but you're brain is still slow — your a.m. cup of coffee hasn't fully taken effect yet. You're having trouble following the message because you missed the first part.
Why is it that we arrive on time for other meaningful things but we don't arrive on time for church?
I'd never think of arriving 10, 15, or 30 minutes late to see a movie, concert, or play because I'd be afraid of missing something good. I also make it a priority to be on time for doctor's appointments and airplane flights because I may miss out entirely if I arrive late. Also, if my favorite store is having a sale, I'll get there early to snag the best deals.
Some people value punctuality more than others, but does my punctuality really matter to God? Does He care if I'm on time as long as I show up? I think those questions are highly debatable. What I know is that my punctuality says more about me personally than I care to admit.
Arriving on time to church is well within my grasp right now. There aren't a ton of X-factors (work, kids, traffic, etc.) that could impact whether or not I'm on time. If I'm consistently late, it flat-out means that I'm not making church a priority. It might mean that I'm losing sight of its value or choosing immaturity.
It's more than what the clock says. It's what my actions and motives say.
Perhaps I think to myself, "If church were more exciting, I'd have more incentive to arrive on time." When I do this, I'm convincing myself that the problem is the church when, in fact, it's my attitude.
I fully recognize that there may be a time in my life when I say, "I want to be on time with all my heart, but it's out of my hands." Totally legit. But now's not that time.
More than just my punctuality, what does my Sunday morning routine say about me?
- Do I go to bed at a reasonable hour on Saturday night?
- Do I bother to set an alarm?
- Do I prepare Sunday lunch the day before?
- Do I pray before leaving home?
- Do I come with anticipation and expectation?
- Do I lend a helping hand when I arrive?
- Do I choose a seat that allows me to focus?
Personally, I can improve in all these areas. What about you?
I want my whole Sunday routine to reflect the fact that church is a top-shelf priority. And I don't want it to just be outward show. I want it to come from a pure heart that's sold-out for the Sabbath.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.