“I hope you haven’t been waiting long…”
Have you heard that before? Usually uttered by the person arriving last – for a long-scheduled appointment – and proposed as a this-settles-everything repayment for the time spent waiting for them.
Greg Savage is an entrepreneur in Australia – a noted pro in the executive search business – and he writes a blog: The Savage Truth. He exposes what appears to be an international malady: “I don’t care if I sound old-fashioned, because actually it’s nothing to do with ‘fashion’ or ‘generation.’ It’s got everything to do with basic good manners and respect for other people. So here goes: How did it get to be okay for people to be late for everything? Because, as far as I am concerned, it’s not okay.
“In recent years it seems that a meeting set to start at 9:00am, for some people means in the general vicinity of any time which starts with the numeral ‘9’. Like, 9:30 for example. People drift in at 9:10 or 9:20, or even later. And they smile warmly at the waiting group, as they unwrap their bacon sandwich, apparently totally unconcerned that others have been there since 8:55am, prepared and ready to start.
“Ten people kept waiting in a meeting for 20 minutes, while some selfish pratt who idles his way via the coffee shop, is actually 20 minutes times 10, which is 200 minutes wasted – while you keep us waiting because you did not catch the earlier bus. That is over three hours wasted. By you! How much has that cost the business? Shall I send you an invoice?
“And it is not that we lead ‘busy lives.’ That’s a given: we all do, and it’s a cop-out to use that as an excuse. It’s simply that some people no longer even pretend that they think your time is as important as theirs. And technology makes it worse. It seems texting or emailing that you are late somehow means you are no longer late. Rubbish. You are rude. And inconsiderate.”
Wow; that’s pretty confrontational! Am I ever late? Sure, on very rare occasion. That’s inevitable even with the best intentions. But I never plan to be late. I never ‘let time slide’ because my stuff is more important than yours. I am not talking about the odd occasion of lateness. I am talking about people who are routinely late. In fact, never on time. They’re out there…
Apparently, “tardy” is a character flaw that Mr. Savage would use to downgrade the potential of a candidate for a position for which he is conducting the search!
Two thousand years ago, there was a country full of Jews who were ready to charge God with delinquency: they had been waiting for the Promised One – the Messiah – for hundreds of years. Their abysmal conditions under foreign domination – Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans – had only deepened their despair. His promises had done little to instill hope in the reality of their oppression.
Paul’s insight? “But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship…” (Galatians 4:4-5). “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6).
Talk about punctuality: Jesus was born, right on God’s schedule, and He died at the precise time, as well. His birth and His death were divinely timely; appeals for God to meet the deadlines of others were never the basis for the chronology of the Christ.
I don’t know who or what you’re waiting on this Christmas, but it sure isn’t Jesus: He came just in time, for us, and He delivered the gifts we needed most – forgiveness and eternal life – through His death on the cross. Because He was right on time, we have time – forever, in Heaven – before us!
Merry Christmas, to us, from the God who is always right on time!