A couple of days ago a discussion about tipping was launched at SBC Voices.  The question at hand was: Are Christians LOUSY Tippers? The general consensus from the service industry (particularly the restaurant trade) is that Christians (particularly the Sunday after worship crowd) have a reputation for being poor sports when it comes to the gratuity.

I’ll let the industry judge us as may be perceived. There are several arguments from a vast variety of viewpoints and angles dropped into the comment section at the original post if you’re interested. For the record, my suggestion to anyone (particularly Christians and especially the after-worship crowd) is that you practice being a generous tipper. If you eat at what I like to call a “sit-down” restaurant don’t whittle your tip down to the half-penny by figuring exactly 15% (I’m told that the new custom is 20% anyway), and don’t base your gratuity on the service rendered (there are often extenuating circumstances that could develop a crabby disposition from your server), the quality of the food (your server isn’t responsible for that at all–that’s the chef/cook’s bailiwick). Just be generous. And don’t leave a tract instead of a tip (I hesitate to suggest it, but I wouldn’t leave a tract with a tip either–there are always better ways to witness–consider offering to pray for a specific need of your server as you are preparing to offer the blessing–and invite them to wait with you a moment while you pray for them). Rather, what I wanted to touch on was a statement that cropped up years ago when I was having this same discussion (about tipping that is) with a friend.

His quote: “Why should I give a waiter/waitress 15%? God only requires 10!” [Then I would assume the person proceeded to leave a tip equivalent to 10% of the bill.]

The statement is poor representation on a number of levels (I’ll touch on just a couple. If you would like to chime in, there’s always the comment section):

First of all, this idea suggests that our tithe is a tip to Almighty God. I understand that we are a bold part of creation, often taking credit when credit is due elsewhere. And I know that we are an arrogant lot as well, expecting God to answer our prayers because we took time to pray, even as far as claiming a “right” to salvation. After all I’m a man, an American man, a middle-class American man, and I was raised in the church. Why, I’m so good, God owes me not only salvation, but a credit for my good friends and buddies as well. (Those who are unfamiliar with sarcasm need not bother quoting me, or passing judgment.) Actually, our tithe (the 10% referenced above) is our response to God understanding that He already owns all that I have, and I am entrusting the first 10% of my earnings to His storehouse (that’s your local church, not your favorite TV preacher) with the understanding that I will choose wisely how I use the other 90%.

On top of that, the gratuity that I leave with my meal bill is part of my server’s income. Legal and industry standards for wages for service personnel expects tip earnings. The minimum wage for the average waiter or waitress needs to grow a few inches before it reaches the level of the common minimum wage for, say the stockboy at the local department store (who does not expect, nor should he receive tips from the general public). The money that you pay for the meal is used to purchase all the overhead items of the establishment–food, equipment, energy, salaries–for the non-wait staff). If you are not generous, your server may not make ends meet.

So, be generous to your server, and stop treating The Almighty as if He is your servant. He’s your Maker!