Christians and Tipping Part 2
Even though many of my Christian friends are generous in tipping when they go out most of the times, no matter how generous you just were in church to the family whose house burned down, the typical Christian still seen as downright stingy. Don’t believe me? Ask any server’s honest opinion (when they’re not waiting on you of course).
I can vividly remember one night; a Christian couple had a problem with their food taking much longer than it should have (remember, they were on their way to the concert). Management was diligent to attempt to rectify the problem by giving the couple half off their meal. Guess what they left the server? $0.30 and then they rushed out the door to go worship God! Of course they let us know about that!
As someone whom I’ve had many conversations about the gospel with, and a genuinely open person ordinarily, he could only rant, and ask me, “Do unto others, huh? Turn the other cheek, huh? What about forgiveness?! Or patience??? And these are the people that dress up every Sunday and give their ten percent, and think that earns them the right to go to heaven?” (I’m not exaggerating – that is exactly what he said, except for the parts not suitable for this forum). If only that were an isolated incident! We fail to realize that because we [Christians] tend to appear all at once, in large groups, and giving good service becomes extremely difficult. Servers frequently wind up penalized rather than blessed by our presence, and then we “judge” them under extreme conditions. The server mentioned earlier? He was upset because his customers not only left her a poor tip; to make matters immeasurably worse, they also left her a gospel tract. Seriously, This is too common an occurrence and it has to stop. As if you think that’s going to make up for not paying someone for services rendered, much less show her God’s “abundant” love? Believe me, your 10-cent tract – AND Christ’s reputation – is going to wind up shredded in the trashcan. I know; I was once a non-Christian server.
Most of us take great pains to study the cultural norms of a foreign land before taking a missions trip, to ensure that we do not unknowingly offend someone, but I’m afraid that we have dropped the ball on the home front. We are told to be wise in the way we treat “outsiders” (Col 4:5) and to be generous on every occasion (1 Corinthians 9:8). Tipping well only for top performance implies a “works based” mentality and not a grace based mentality like the gospel. The sad fact is, Christians are known for being 10% tippers even for good service, which hurts your server to the heart. So please, especially if your server will know you’re a Christian, consider your tip a missions offering, and try representing your Father’s lavishly giving nature. Tip 20% (take the total tab, double it, and move the decimal – $42 tab = $8.40 tip). Got a social outing as a group? Why not conspire to leave $20 beyond what you would have? I know a (very) few people who regularly drop an extra $5-$20 when no one is looking, just to make up for how badly they know the rest of their group tipped. God uses that act too! However, if you finally decide that you cannot practice the simple cultural norm of tipping adequately (if not extravagantly) – in the future, when you’re going to a Christian event that fills up our local restaurants, for the sake of the gospel… could you at least practice the discipline of fasting?
What do you think?
Could you practice fasting?