This is a true story about my acquaintance Arbuthnot (not his real name), who asks that I spread the word on this.
Arbuthnot is a member of a small Shabbat-and-holiday-only shul with no office staff, and in fact no office. Everything that's done is done by volunteers, and Arbuthnot's job is to check the voice mail. Sometimes he's quite conscientious, checking the messages every day. Most of the time there are no messages, and most of the messages are junk mail--someone wants to sell something to whoever is at the phone number. He often lets a day or two slide by, and no harm is done.
Friday, June 27, after a few days of not checking, Arbuthnot phoned in for the voice mail. There were a few messages from Wednesday, June 18; more days than he'd realized had gone by. A gentleman was calling for Rabbi Ploni. His mother was dying; she used to attend the shul, and she wanted the rabbi to officiate at the funeral.
Had Arbuthnot gotten the message in a timely way, he would have contacted the rabbi immediately. Since it was already nine days later, he called the gentleman instead. Arbuthnot apologized, said he was the voice-mail person from the shul, and asked how the man's mother was. The man said his mother had died, and he had managed to get in contact with the rabbi.
Arbuthnot's message to the readers of Consider the Source is that it's important to be scrupulous in fulfilling one's obligations.