Could leaving early make you a better person?

At church this past Sunday, I listened to a lady give a talk about service. She spoke of how service to others was an important aspect in her life, and she pointed out an interesting way she sets herself up to serve. She would leave her house about 10 minutes early everywhere she went. Whether it was a doctor’s appointment or an athletic event, she would plan her days so that she could leave 10 minutes early. Why did she do this? She explained that by giving herself more time to get to her destination, she felt less rushed. She would arrive at least a few minutes early anywhere she went. Less rushing around led to less stress, which caused her to be in a better mood.

On several occasions, she was able to stop and help others on the way to her destination. In one instance she passed by some high school kids who had missed the bus. She stopped and gave them a ride, which saved them from having to walk a long way to school. On another occasion, when she had arrived at her destination, she saw someone who looked lost. Because she wasn’t in a hurry, she was able to help by giving directions. Had she been in a hurry, she noted, she probably wouldn’t have stopped to help in either case.

As I listened to her talk, I thought of all the times recently when I waited until the last possible minute to leave the house. I was simply focused on my destination. I hadn’t considered that by doing this, perhaps I was missing out on great opportunities to serve others.

I found her method of daily service to others to be inspiring, especially today when everyone seems to be in a hurry. Her example shows that service doesn’t always have to involve formal, scheduled events. Doing service in small spurts can have the same positive impact.

Circumstances may not always allow you to leave early. I doubt, for example, your boss would agree to let you go home 10 minutes early every day for this reason. But by occasionally leaving early, even the busiest among us can do their part to make our world a better place.

What do you think?

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