On several occasions now, I have had my daughters share with me just how awful Christians are at tipping. Their experiences range from Christian conferences in town for the weekend to waiting on folks who pray before their meals or talk freely about their faith. Just recently, this was brought to mind again, as one of my daughters reminded me just how much she and her co-workers hate when a Christian conference comes to town.
What is wrong with this picture?
Now keep in mind I have had two daughters who work in this industry in several different restaurants and this is what I keep hearing. The wait staff at restaurants do not expect Christians to tip well. And, actually, they find Christians are often rude and unkind, as well. Those Christians that are the opposite are a welcome exception.
The thing that makes them laugh the most is when there will be a tract laying beside a dollar bill. If we aren’t going to be generous in our tipping, it would be better to leave the tract tucked away in our purse or pocket, as it simply serves to give the gospel a bad name.
Sometimes, wait staff will try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they honestly don’t know that waiters only make around $2 an hour and heavily rely on tips to survive?
You may be thinking that you will never make a difference in the life of that waiter or waitress, anyway. You will never see them again. And that may be true. But we do have the opportunity to either open or close that heart to the message of Christ. If someone later on does have an opportunity to share the gospel with that waiter or waitress, will our experience with them hinder or help that process?
It would seem to me that of all peoples, we should be the kindest and the most generous. Not only are we to be filled with the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) as we interact with people, but Jesus commands us to treat others as we want to be treated (Luke 6:31).
So let’s expand this further than simply restaurants. As we evaluate our interaction with those who serve us, whether they be store clerks, customer service reps, repairmen, bank tellers, or wait staff, how do we treat them? Do we treat them like we would want to be treated or do we give a little grunt of hello and then proceed to ignore them, or–even worse yet–to be rude and nasty?
This can be especially difficult if the person serving us is not the nicest to us.
This happened to me a few months ago. Something went wrong behind the scenes and Growing 4 Life was taken off-line. When I called the number given me in the email for an explanation, I ended up getting a rude, unhelpful guy that made my temper awfully hard to hang on to. Talking to him was like talking to a brick wall. I ended up calling a different number and getting it solved, but after it was all over, my mom asked me how I had treated the rude guy, given the message of my blog. As I was talking to this man about Growing 4 Life there was a good chance he would land there after we were done talking, if only to check on it. Thankfully, I had remembered this during my conversation and had not completely blown it– although, admittedly, I could have done much better than I did!
But just as this blog gives a message about me and I have a responsibility to behave in alliance with that message, so our lives, too, if we are Christians, give a message about us–a message that comes with a responsibility.
Many patches of ground have remained unsown because of some thoughtless Christian who destroyed the witness of Christ by their thoughtless, rude, and stingy behavior. Let us be the exception! May we instead help prepare the soil for the gospel message by our kindness and generosity, so that hearts may be open to the good news of Christ.