Three Reasons Why Christians Should Tip Generously
- Monday, December 16, 2013
2013 has been the year of restaurant tipping drama in the Church. Or, so it seems in the news.
In January, various news outlets reported that a pastor left no monetary tip to a waitress in an Applebees. Instead, she left this note as a tip: "I give God 10 percent. Why do you get 18 (percent)?"
The waitress posted it online and subsequently got fired.
Her reaction to getting stiffed: “I come home exhausted, sore, burnt, dirty and blistered on a good day. I’ve been stiffed on tips before, but this if the first time I’ve seen the Big Man used as reasoning.”
Just last month, another story broke about a restaurant patron's discrimination as the reason behind stiffing a server.
The gay server posted a photo of a receipt signed by some customers who also allegedly left this note: "I'm sorry, but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle."
The couple came forward and denied those allegations, producing a receipt and a credit card statement that indicates they did, in fact, leave a tip.
But nevertheless, it becomes "bad press" for Christian restaurant patrons.
Mostly recently, however, there has been a positive story getting national attention. The "Tips for Jesus" movement has countered some of the negativity.
It is undetermined who is behind "Tips for Jesus," but this individual or group posts Instagram photos of receipts documenting exorbitant tips left for unsuspecting servers.
The mission statement presented on the Instagram account: "Doing the Lord's work, one tip at a time."
Unfortunately, however, stories like the first two are caricatures of a widespread reality: the Sunday lunch shift has become the most dreaded for most restaurant workers.
Brian, a professed Christian, and a waiter who often serves the Sunday lunch crowd at a popular chain restaurant, sees a wide range of Christians' attitudes toward tipping.
"I've personally heard the whole gamut of arguments for bad tipping. They range from 'not satisfied with service' to something similar to the patron from the Applebees scenario, to abundantly generous," he explained.
Whether a restaurant worker is believer like Brian, or an outspoken atheist, Christians, especially, should treat their servers exactly the same--both in courtesy and in compensation. Scripture has much to say about showing partiality, in many contexts. The second chapter of James spends the first several verses addressing the subject of favoritism. The heart of the message, as it could apply the way Christians treat restaurant service people, can be found in verses eight and nine:
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
Scripture--alone--is reason enough to tip our servers well, but there are practical reasons why it should be done. Here are four practical reasons why Christians should be above-average restaurant tippers:
It Strengthens Our Credibility as the Church
This one goes without saying, but bad tipping becomes a barrier between the heart of a waitperson and the gospel.
"When I think about the way some of my Christian brothers and sisters tip their servers in a restaurant, it makes me cringe," said Brian. "And it is doubly cringe-worthy to think about what those servers outside the church think of God when they see their patrons bow their heads to pray and then leave a sub-par tip."
Paul talked about the importance of credibility in ministry in 2 Corinthians 6:3. He said,
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