My family is early everywhere. If we arrive on time that means that we were overbooked for the day. When we lived in the city there were always a few people that would be late for meetings, church or other activities, but not too many. Then we moved to the country. They seemed to have different clocks than we do!
We have often joked that people around here don’t think about leaving until it is time to start!
Now granted there are valid and good reasons for being late.
~ Horrible traffic Jam.
~ Helping another individual.
~ Car problems.
~ Sharing the gospel with another.
But these shouldn’t be every time you are due somewhere. If you are always late due to traffic you haven’t planned your leaving time well. Most traffic is a regular occurrence. If you know that you will be driving at 5:00 PM through town then you should have added buffer time.
How is being early a part of worship?
1. If you were invited to the White House for a Dinner you would be there early. Actually, they would give you an early time just due to the security issues. But if it is considered respectful to be early for the President, doesn’t the Lord deserve more honor?
2. It shows respect for others. Many times other people have worked hard at being on time to a church service. Maybe even leaving a family gathering early in order to arrive on time. But what if they arrive on time or early and yet still must wait for others who arrive late?
3. Being early allows for getting settled when you arrive. Children (and adults) can use the restroom before church begins so that they are not interrupting during the service or meetings. It also gives you a chance to settle your mind and get into a worshipful mode after driving.
4. Those leading the service or meeting have worked hard to prepare and there is nothing more disheartening than to see the clock showing that it is time to start and all that is there is your family or just a few of the expected participants.
5. It is rude to be late and interrupt the speaker and other participant’s thoughts by entering after things have started. No matter how much you try to block it out others coming in and out do distract.
6. Being late says that you did not think this activity was important. How? Give someone tickets to their favorite college football team and they will be there early. But have a time set aside every week for worship of the Lord Creator of all things and what happens? They are late. Football is more important than the Lord?
7. Being late silently says that your time is more important than anther’s time. If others have worked hard to be 10 minutes early and yet you arrive ten minutes late you have essentially said that 20 minutes of time of the other people involved was not worth anything. Time is money in business. While time is not money in God’s Kingdom it is still important to show due respect for others.
8. Being early helps to teach your children to be early also. Not only that the children will see what parents feel is important. You are early to things that mean a lot to you. If the children see you on time for work, sports and even TV shows but late for church, what have you told them?
Christian Communicators Worldwide has a bulletin insert for the following The Value of Arriving Early to Church Meetings. Here are their reasons.
Arriving early provides opportunities for fellowship.
Arriving early prevents you from distracting others.
Arriving early reveals a loving, Christ-like attitude.
Arriving early is a simple way to respect your leaders.
Arriving early sets a good example for your children.
More explanation is found if you follow the above link.