If I show up late to Church, I usually do so feeling rushed and stressed upon arrival, and thus I am distracted. So it’s not just that I have already missed part of the Sunday school or worship service, but now I must deal with the “running commentary” within my own mind about my poor example and what a poor time-manager I am. And what are all these other people thinking about me coming in late again?
In such instances I am scarcely able to really worship effectively for several additional minutes after arriving (if at all) because of the conflicting thoughts created by being late.
If I show up late, I will be a distraction to others as well. As much as late arrivers seek to quietly “slip” in, it is unavoidable that someone will be made to take their attention away from the worship of God to make room for you. This is certainly not intended by the person arriving late. Nonetheless it is a usual consequence. Most people have grace for those who arrive late. But wouldn’t it be better not to be a distraction to others?
We should also consider the Worship Team. They spend a couple of hours on Tuesday nights practicing and then show up very early on Sundays to rehearse and be ready to serve each of us in our corporate worship of God. Consider how they may be tempted to feel when one-half or more of the congregation is not even in the sanctuary when worship begins! Then as they are sincerely trying to focus on the worship of Christ, they watch every late arriving person walk through the doors. Even if they are mercifully inclined (and should be), it cannot help but be a distraction to them. Our tardiness certainly affects the worship experience of other people.
Think about it.