The Symptom of Tardiness
John D. Telgren

Someone has said "it is better to be an hour too early than a minute too late."

Most of us work to make sure we are on time to work. If we go to see a movie, we make sure we are on time. If it is a graduation ceremony, or a wedding, we most assuredly will be on time.

What about our class and worship? The official start time of Bible classes Sunday morning is at 9:30 a.m. The unofficial start time seems to be about 9:40. We should ask ourselves why this is so.

I knew a guy named Joe in the Air Force. He was always late coming in to work. It was just one symptom of a disordered life. His room in the barracks was also a mess and often did not pass inspection. His uniform was usually wrinkled, and his boots not shined. It all came to a head one day when he accidentally left a screwdriver inside of a piece of equipment destined for a plane on the flight line. That was it. He was discharged under less than honorable conditions.

Many of us may not have a life so disordered as that. Most of us probably make it to work on time, and rarely miss unless we are sick or have an appointment of some sort. Most of us probably do acceptable work on our jobs and do not make it a habit to be late. Our lives at work are probably fairly well ordered.

But what about our spiritual life? If we have a habit of being late for class or worship, of not being involved in meaningful ministry when it is available to us, of feeling guilty because we don’t pray enough, of simply being an absentee disciple, then our spiritual life may be in disarray.

Paul wrote, “But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner (1 Cor 14:40).” In context, he is applying that specifically to the worship service. However, the principle behind the instruction is much broader than this. The principle is, “...for God is not a God of confusion but of peace…(1 Cor 14:33).” So being peacefully ordered is not merely a matter of preference, but a matter of theology.

The curious thing is how we might have a well-ordered life in every area except for our spirituality. If our spiritual life is just something we tack on to our lives with little thought, then is it any wonder if it is disordered? Like the time set aside for work and other important endeavors, we need to have time for our spirituality. But it goes even deeper than this. It needs to be thoughtfully integrated with your job, home, and leisure time. So not only are you to have time set aside for God, but God needs to be in everything you do. Take a self-test. Simply ask yourself how God is integrated in your life. That is how to begin to have an ordered spiritual life. Oh, and by the way, some of the symptoms, such as tardiness and absenteeism may start to disappear in your life.