- A lesbian waitress at a New Jersey restaurant that claimed a family left a judgmental note instead of a tip (an allegation that was proved a hoax)
- A St. Louis-area server who posted a receipt signed by a pastor that says, “I give God 10% why do you get 18” (the pastor later apologized and said folks at her table left cash tips)
There has to be a reason these stories go viral. Might it be that, right or wrong, Christians or conservative-leaning people might have a bad reputation among some restaurant workers?
The unfortunate thing is any negative perception that might exist against Christians would appear to be undeserved on the whole. Earlier this year Ed Stetzer reported on a study, “Are Christian/Religious People Poor Tippers?” that found “the average Christian tips 17 percent of the bill when receiving good restaurant service and only 13 out of 100 Christians receiving good service leave a tip below 15 percent of the bill.”
There’s one more story making the news rounds: An extravagant tipper going by @tipsforjesus was recently identified as Jack Selby, a former PayPal vice president. Selby would tip a ten times the bill, such as the $1,000 gratuity he left on a $111.05 bill.
These stories tell me something: for better or for worse, the way we engage with our wait staff in the service industry might say a lot to them about our faith.
Think about the time-honored custom of going out for lunch after Sunday church service, or the emerging practice of meeting at a coffee shop for Bible study. It might be the youth group stopping at a fast-food place for burgers before heading off to their Friday night activity. Everyone in that restaurant knows it’s a “Christian group.”
I think it would be a great thing for us to seize those everyday moments as evangelistic opportunities, don’t you?
Below are three suggestions on doing just that.
1. Tip well.
Did you know that the minimum cash wage for a tipped employee is only $2.13? Simply put, the men and women who serve you at most restaurants need your tip to make ends meet. A proper gratuity would tell your server you care about him or her.
2. Intentionally interact with staff.
I’ll illustrate this point with a story relationship expert Ken Sande recently shared at a Focus chapel.
One day Ken stopped to get coffee at an airport coffee shop when he noticed the barista took the time to create a beautiful work of art in the foam of the latte the customer before him had ordered. She was about to place the plastic cover over her artwork when Ken stopped her. He smiled and said, “You’ve done such a beautiful job on his coffee; don’t cover it until he sees your artwork. With that kind of artistry and customer care, you’re going to be successful wherever you work.”
Can you imagine the type of impact Ken’s encouragement had on that barista’s day? What a simple way to show the love of Jesus.
3. Pray for your server.
You’ll probably learn a little bit about your waiter, barista or cashier after a short conversation. Whatever you learn can be quickly turned into a little prayer.
And who knows? The Holy Spirit might even prompt you to go beyond prayer. If so, that’s an opportunity to step out in faith and obedience!
More often than not, living out our faith means that we keep an eye out for “divine appointments” as we go about our day – even if it’s just getting a burger or a cup of coffee.
I’d love to read your suggestions on how to engage service staff well in the comments section.
Simply put, it’s the “best of the best,” and I want to share the schedule with you below, complete with links for easy access.
So, I hope you’ll check out this year’s “best of” programming – and let us know what you think! We love to hear from our listeners, and we take your comments, encouragements and critiques to heart. We strive to produce programming that’s relevant to today’s families, so your feedback is especially important to us.
Monday, Dec. 2 Bono: Husband, Father, Advocate
Tuesday, Dec. 3 Experiencing a Fulfilled Marriage, Part One
Wednesday, Dec. 4 Experiencing a Fulfilled Marriage, Part Two
Thursday, Dec. 5 Exposing the Dark World of Human Trafficking, Part One
Friday, Dec. 6 Exposing the Dark World Of Human Trafficking, Part Two
Monday, Dec. 9 Family Dynamics During the Holidays
Tuesday, Dec. 10 Practical Advice for Strong-Willed Wives, Part One
Wednesday, Dec. 11 Practical Advice for Strong-Willed Wives, Part Two
Thursday, Dec. 12 Preparing Sons to be Great Husbands and Fathers, Part One
Friday, Dec. 13 Preparing Sons to be Great Husbands and Fathers, Part Two
Monday, Dec. 16 Godly Encouragement for Tween Daughters
Tuesday, Dec. 17 A Fresh Look at Dating, Part One
Wednesday, Dec. 18 A Fresh Look at Dating, Part Two
Thursday, Dec. 19 Responding Well in Marital Conflict, Part One
Friday, Dec. 20 Responding Well in Marital Conflict, Part Two
Monday, Dec. 23 Words of Kindness, Source of Healing
Tuesday, Dec. 24 Memories of Christmas, Part One
Wednesday, Dec. 25 Memories of Christmas, Part Two
Thursday, Dec. 26 Embracing Biblical Womanhood, Part One
Friday, Dec. 27 Embracing Biblical Womanhood, Part Two
Monday, Dec. 30 Protecting Your Family from the Digital Invasion, Part One
Tuesday, Dec. 31 Protecting Your Family from the Digital Invasion, Part Two
Norman Rockwell was originally paid $3,500 for the painting, a detailed illustration of an older woman and a young boy bowing their heads in prayer over a meal in the middle of a crowded restaurant. It first appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1951.
And just last week the 62-year-old masterpiece, “Saying Grace,” sold at auction for $46 million.
I don’t pretend to be an art connoisseur or an expert when it comes to the valuation of the art market. There are obviously many factors that go into the pricing of any particular painting. Beauty is also in the eye of the beholder, but when something sells for $46 million it really grabs your attention.
But one of the very simple reasons why this Rockwell piece demanded such a price tag, I think, is because it so cleanly captured what so many intuitively want but don’t always have:
A grateful heart.
It’s a discipline we don’t always practice, but we love it when we see it modeled so elegantly, as Norman Rockwell did to high acclaim in 1951.
Everything we do at Focus on the Family is made possible by friends like you – and we want you to know just how your contributions make a difference in the lives of so many.
The infographic at left details how many people – real families, marriages, children – are impacted by our resources, websites and counselors.
From marriages saved, to families strengthening their faith, to saving babies from abortion… God is doing great things through His ministry called Focus on the Family.
And I have said, it’s all made possible by the generous men and women who made a decision to give financial support.
Like I shared with you on Thursday, November and December are critical months for us. The holiday period is typically when Focus on the Family receives the lion’s share of our financial contributions. The support we receive now will be crucial to enabling the ministry to continue its outreach in 2014.
And we do have big plans for 2014, including the theater release of a documentary film that will launch our newest DVD curriculum, The Family Project.
If you’d like to give the gift of family this Christmas, you can securely donate online.
Thank you for partnering with us and helping us make a difference. We couldn’t do it without you, and we are so grateful for your support.