The applications of Philippians 2:3-4 are stacked pretty high. Paul commands us, “…in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” One of the great beauties of the Bible is that God doesn’t list out in minute detail all of the things we should do as Christians in every possible scenario, but rather, he gives us principles that are applicable in a variety of circumstances.
One such circumstance for putting Philippians 2:3-4 to work in your life is the promptness of your arrivals. What? I mean, doing all you can to be where you say you’re going to be when you say you’re going to be there. Whether it’s a casual lunch, helping someone move, filling in for someone in children’s Sunday school, or getting home from work, shouldn’t we be sensitive to the fact that people are waiting on us and, in many cases, depending on us to be on time? I could be off base here, but I don’t think that we, Christians, give much thought to the possibility that being late could be sin. What if our failure to be on time is the bad fruit borne out of not counting others more significant than ourselves? If we look at it from this angle, our lateness says to the person(s) waiting on us, “My time is more important than yours”.
There are certainly things we can’t help, like a major accident on the freeway or a child who needs timely discipline, but even then, we can leave ourselves a buffer zone to allow for these things. We live extremely busy lives in an extremely busy world and much of the time this reality becomes the excuse for our lack of promptness. We may not think to ourselves, “I don’t really care for this person(s), so it doesn’t matter if I’m a little late”, but we don’t have to think those thoughts for us to treat people like their unimportant – all we have to do is think of ourselves instead of them. Neglecting to think of others often has the same result as thinking badly of them.
Church, we must face the fact that even the time of our arrivals communicates who we believe Christ to be and what we believe him to have done. If he is God in the flesh who came not to be served but to serve, then let’s do all we can to be on time (Mark 10:45).