Some have found that arriving at appointments a bit ahead of time actually reduces stress. Punctuality also enhances a person’s reputation. How so?

Punctuality indicates competence. When you are on time, it shows that you try to be in control of your life instead of allowing circumstances to prevent you from doing the things you want to do.

Punctuality suggests dependability. In a society where promises are often broken and commitments frequently ignored, people appreciate those who stick to their word. Dependable people earn respect from friends and family. Employers value those who arrive on time for work and meet deadlines. Dependable workers may even be rewarded with a higher salary and greater trust.

There is no commandment in the Bible that says, “Thou shall not be late, ever,” so it’s not as simple as one Scripture reference to determine God’s view on tardiness. Everyone has been late to something at some point, often due to unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances. But, if someone is habitually late and unconcerned about being on time, especially if that person professes to be a Christian, then scriptural principles do apply. As with all things, God looks at the heart, “for the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

For the person who is habitually late, there is hope. For many, it is simply a matter of overcoming bad habits built up over time. Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing those habits to be more aware of time, planning ahead, and leaving ample time for the unexpected. Recognizing the spiritual impact on others is the first step in understanding the importance of reversing the bad habit of tardiness. If we are motivated by love for others and a desire to maintain a good reputation for Christ’s sake, then prayer for wisdom and help is the next step. God has promised wisdom to all who ask for it (James 1:5), and He is never far away from those who call upon His power for godly living

Ecclesiastes 7:1 – A good name [is] better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.

Proverbs 21:5 – The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.

Proverbs 20:4 – The sluggard will not plough by reason of the cold; [therefore] shall he beg in harvest, and [have] nothing.

Proverbs 12:27 – The slothful [man] roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man [is] precious.

Colossians 3:23 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

How to Demonstrate Punctuality

At Home

  • Giving priority to appointments made with family members.
  • Assisting other family members so they can be where they need to be, on time.
  • Being in the car in good time so as not to make the whole family late.
  • Going to bed on time in order to get up on time the next day.
  • Promptly responding to letters and phone calls.
  • Being quick to praise other family members.
  • Paying bills promptly.

At Church

  • Arriving early before each service begins.
  • Not holding grudges with other church members – being quick to forgive.
  • Giving your tithe and offerings promptly each week.

The “I Wills” of Punctuality

  • I will be at the right place at the right time.
  • I will prepare for unexpected delays.
  • I will do my work ahead of time.
  • I will plan a daily schedule and keep it.
  • I will not fall into the trap of “just once more.”

Character Definitions of Punctuality

  • Learning to arrange my schedule around the appointments that are made.
  • Showing respect for others by doing the right thing at the right time.
  • Showing consideration for other people and their time.
  • Exact in keeping time and appointments; done at the exact time.

How to Teach Punctuality to Children

There is nothing more obnoxious than an adult who is always late. This bad habit can affect an adult’s career and relationships in a negative manner. Early childhood offers many opportunities to teach children their place in a relationship to others. Taught early, children can develop good traits such as being punctual and honoring others’ time. These five steps will help enhance punctuality in your children.

  1. Be a good example. Tell your child when you are working on a deadline to be on time and why you feel it is important. Try your best to get to places on time, or even a bit early, and remark how good it makes you feel to be punctual.
  2. Point out negative tardiness in others when you see it happen. Without being harshly judgmental, explain to your children that being late can be hurtful and self-centred. Especially when someone is late for them, show them that what they are feeling is how others feel when he/she is late.
  3. Reward good punctual behavior with compliments and treats. Positive reinforcement is always the best teacher.
  4. Allow children to experience consequences when they are late. They may lose a chance to go to a special place because they miss a ride, lose their place in line, or miss out on a coveted seat at the table. Don’t rush to make things right when your children are not punctual due to their own behavior.
  5. Teach children how to pace themselves and how to project how much time is needed to be prepared for a ride or responsibility. Watch the clock with them when they are dressing or bathing, and point out how long it typically takes them. Tell them when you see them procrastinating.