Lettered Hope

Why Christians Should Always Tip Well

Jessica ScheksComment

tipping Several years ago in a discussion class in college I was a part of a discussion that disturbed me. I didn't partake in it... partly because I was mortified, and partly because I hated discussion classes anyway. But several of my classmates began talking about church groups coming into restaurants where they worked as servers at the time. {and side note: One of them happened to work at the Applebee's where my youth group went almost every Sunday night after service.} And when I say they were "talking about church groups," I really mean that they were passionately discussing their hatred for them. They spewed out a list of common characteristics of these so called "church groups:"

  • Terrible tippers
  • Order the cheapest things possible, which results in tiny tips
  • Rude
  • Expect more than should be expected from a server {especially at a sub-par restaurant such as Applebee's}
  • Have no sympathy if it's busy or for any other circumstances the server may be dealing with
  • Often in large groups
  • Often come in late at night
  • Easily offended

But here's the thing, for the most part, they were right. And it really saddens me.

My husband has been a server for about nine years and he totally knows what it feels like to work hard all night and barely get a tip. It's a terrible feeling. But on the flip side,  he also knows what it feels like to get an awesome tip that totally makes his night! So he loves paying it forward and leaving a great tip for our servers when we go out.

Before we started dating I used to tip exactly 15 percent, it didn't matter whether the service was phenomenal or not, or what I ordered was only $4.50 resulting in a 67 cent tip. In fact I was happy to only have to pay a small tip when my bill was small. But then Michael enlightened me.

Leaving an extra dollar or two, or five, or ten, probably isn't going to hurt you, most likely will not make or break you financially, and in turn will make someone feel appreciated. Many of my friends are Christians, so when I go out to eat with friends, the very vast majority of the time it's safe to say that we are all Christians at the table. Sometimes we will openly pray over our meal and we often go out to eat after church so we're all dressed up and the hostess or server will usually ask us why we're so fancy or where we're coming from. So at this point, everything we do will either point the server and other restaurant employees to Christ, or turn them away.

tip jar

So how does acting annoyed, acting as if you deserve the world, acting as if you could care less that the server has eleven other tables, etc. make them want to come to church with you next week? I don't even have to go into specific Bible verses because this is a basic Christian principle; a lifestyle that is to be followed if you are a Christian. That ALL should be done in love {which includes eating at a restaurant and tipping before you leave} and loving thy neighbor as thyself {your server is your neighbor!}

And when I say love, I'm referring to the Christ-like charity. How did Christ show love? If he came and sat down at a restaurant how do you think he'd treat the one serving him? It humbles me just to think about how gracious and loving he'd be towards a stranger just performing their job. He'd probably find a way to minister to them, and without a doubt, he'd leave them with a good impression. Perhaps that person would follow him; leave their job right then and there to become his disciple. Since Jesus is currently not walking around on earth interacting with people, we must put a face on Christ to those lost in the world. It's our responsibility!

It completely boggles my mind that Christians are greedy and act like they deserve to be waited on hand and foot for them to even give a 20 percent tip. To me, a 20 percent tip is standard these days. As Christians we really get our feathers ruffled when people start calling us hypocrites and insulting our lifestyles. Sometimes we get a little too high and mighty, and in our heads respond to these "haters" by listing off the "good" things we do. If only you knew how many times a week I go to church, and I volunteer here, and I read my Bible every morning, and I tithe, and I do this and I do that... how dare someone call me rude. But then we go to a restaurant and leave pocket change on the table because we were insanely nitpicky about the way we were served.

I've noticed Christians are really good at finding flaws in servers. And maybe you do leave a decent tip because that's what you've always been taught, but I've also observed many Christians who start talking as soon as the server walks away. She's only taken several steps away from the table, and the insults start flying. She forgot my extra spoon, she brought the wrong sauce, she didn't refill my drink, blah, blah, blah. Have you ever served several tables simultaneously with demands being thrown at you from every direction? We'd all make mistakes in a fast-paced environment with a thousand different things needing to be done.

So give that server some grace! Instead of telling her she forgot, ask her the next time she stops by your table for what you need like it's the first time you asked. As soon as you say it I bet she'll remember and feel bad enough; you don't need to make it your personal duty to make her feel inadequate. And stop the criticism. Even if your server doesn't hear you, people sitting around you will, and they probably know or at least suspect that you're a Christian based on your dress and if you said a prayer over your meal. If they hear hatred coming from your lips, they'll probably want nothing to do with you.

Even if the service you received really was bad. I still think you should extend grace because people need loved the most when they deserve it the least. You just never know. The server's grandmother could be in the hospital, or maybe one of his friends recently committed suicide. Or maybe he's just really bitter about life because he's been dealt a lot of bad circumstances. Whatever the case, leave a tip. And maybe even a little note of encouragement. Never even think about not leaving a tip! An extra generous tip to an angry person might be just what they need to be humbled. They probably know they're being rude. And they might be intentionally rude to people they know are Christians. If I were that server and I got an awesome tip after I served a table I'd been intentionally rude to, it'd probably convict me or at least cause me to think twice!

So shine the light! Be grace filled everywhere you go so that it spills out of you and onto the people around you. Get to know your server, show that you care. If she shares a struggle in life, mention that you'll pray for her {and you better actually pray!}. Be prayerful about the tip you leave, ask the Lord to lay on your heart if you are to give something extra. The Lord might use you to answer a prayer that your server hopelessly lifted up before her shift as she sifted through her bills. Plus, you'll quickly find that it's a much more pleasant dining experience when you extend grace to your server; you'll forget the small stuff that doesn't really matter, and you'll feel good when you leave knowing that you put a face on Jesus!