I was sorry to read a viral story this morning about a waitress who posted a receipt online on which a pastor crossed out an automatic tip of 18% and wrote in 0% with a comment “I give God 10% why should you get 18%.” Lots of ink has already been spilled on this today and the story has continued to unfold. The waitress was fired from her job later today for “violating their guest’s right to privacy” and the Pastor in question was subsequently tracked down and has apologized saying she “has embarrassed herself and her church.” So what can we learn about this?
What is actually going on when I tip a waiter or a waitress? Am I trying to save two or three dollars or am I making a statement about who my money really belongs to? I think there is more going on here than meets the eye. Each one of us preaches a wordless sermon every time you pay a bill at a restaurant. If I flinch at adding three dollars to lunch at the coffee shop am I clutching cash a little too tightly perhaps? My tip is a demonstration of just how much (or perhaps how little) of my heart Jesus actually has a hold of. How well do I understand grace if I can’t let a couple of dollars go?
Len Sweet tweeted today “What if all Christians tipped 50% on 21 May, National Waiter/Waitress Day?” This got me thinking about the missional implications of going to restaurants and coffee shops.
Firstly, whether you are in ministry or not you should make a habit of going to the same places of business (same restaurants, same coffee shops) just so you can get some practice making friends and being a blessing to people. Particularly those of us in full time ministry need to be extra aware that we represent our faith, and our church community, every time we go out. I met someone today (whom I thought was a stranger) who told me (you taught me in VBS when I was 4 years old). Yikes!
As an expression of grace we need to be the best tippers our baristas, waiters and waitresses have. We owe it to Jesus to the best customers our local coffee shops have! Would people roll their eyes whenever Jesus walked in for Carmel macchiato? Extra foam and no tip again? Ya thanks a lot you cheap carpenter!
As a demonstration of how God’s radical generosity toward us has changed who we are, I challenge you to tip extravagantly whenever you can. It will do your heart good and may give you a chance to make Jesus look great too!