1 Samuel 13:8
“And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.”
The verse above has always troubled me because of how Saul did wrong because of the prophet’s lack of being on time. Had Samuel kept his appointment with Saul, the story above may have never happened. Certainly, Samuel’s lack of punctuality was not an excuse for Saul to overstep his authority, but you can’t overlook the fact that Samuel’s tardiness contributed to another’s sin.
Most everyone knows the disdain of sitting in a doctor’s office waiting for the doctor. I know that doctors are busy, but when you make an appointment, you expect the doctor to honor that time. It is unthoughtful at best for the doctor not to honor your time. If the doctor can’t keep the appointment, then he should have never set it.
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I remember one time I had an appointment with my pastor. The time came for my appointment, and I sat in the waiting room waiting for my pastor to let me into his office. Twenty minutes had passed without the pastor or his secretary addressing me, so I went to the secretary to ask if the pastor had forgotten my appointment. She replied by telling me that he was in a meeting and that he would get to me as soon as his meeting was over. After waiting ten more minutes, I told the secretary that if the pastor wanted me, for he was the one who set the appointment, that he could call me, and if I had time, I would answer the call. This was irritating at best, but it was wrong for this pastor to treat my time as less important to his. Let me give a few thoughts about the importance of time and keeping appointments.
First, everyone’s time is important. Whether you are the one who set the appointment, or you are the one who someone wants to meet with, that time set is important for both. Character realizes that everyone’s time is valuable. To be late for an appointment is to waste the life of the others in the appointment for time is life. You should never be late for your appointments. Being punctual for your appointments tells a lot about what you think of time and the other person. Being late has nothing to do with a nationality or a region of the country, being late has everything to do with your character. Being late for an appointment is a lack of character and respect for the other person.
Second, don’t steal the time of another person. When you are the one who makes the appointment, you must realize that you gave your word to be there at a certain time. When a thief robs money from someone, we are often glad that the thief goes to jail for stealing that money. However, not being on time for an appointment is robbing the other person’s time. Time not kept is time that can never be brought back. You are no better than a thief if you don’t keep your appointments with others.
Third, know when to leave someone so the next person can have their time. When a person is trying to get away because they need to meet with others, you need to be considerate of them. Don’t hoard the other person’s time all for yourself. When you know that others are need to talk to someone, quickly get through your business and move on. Respecting another’s time is scriptural when you take into consideration God’s command to redeem the time.