“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15
Being on time for appointments is one of those things that isn’t universally valued by people. I am, however, one of those people that places a great deal of value in being on time. If I can help it, I’m rarely late.
I credit my parents with instilling this value in my life. I can still hear both of my parents repeating a favorite saying on the subject, “If you’re not five minutes early, you’re late.” So ingrained was that habit of being on time that I can’t remember a single time when we were late when the cause was a lack of proper planning. Every time something that wouldn’t have been reasonably possible to foresee had occurred causing our tardiness.
Early in my career as a pastor, a mentor advised me that it was helpful, when pastoring multiple churches, to create the impression that you had abundant time to devote to the needs of church members and being on time was important in building it. In fact, he advised that I be about thirty minutes early for meetings and services so that i would be available to talk with people that arrived early.
My family has not always liked having to tag along for these early arrivals but I’ve found that he was right, most people greatly appreciate it when people have a habit of being on time.
The phrase, “The time is fulfilled…”, in our focus text today, reveals that when it comes to doing things, our God is on time. I don’t know about you but I find it comforting to know that God is an on time God. It tells me that we have a God that truly cares about us. It tells me that he cares enough to notice our needs. It shows that he cares enough to make plans to meet our needs. And it shows that he continues to care enough to plan ahead so that he can be ready to do what needs to happen when it was planned for it to happen. It shows me that we can count on our Heavenly Father to care.
To some, timeliness is a matter of small importance. While I don’t agree, I choose not to judge their worth as people and the genuineness of their good intentions by their lack of timeliness. I am, however, very thankful that God has never given me any reason to doubt his love for me. Even in what is perhaps at times a small thing, like being on time