I recently encountered this blog post by a Christian psychologist Richard Beck. He writes, provocatively, “The single most damaging phenomenon to the witness of Christianity in America today is the collective behavior of the Sunday morning lunch crowd. Never has a more well-dressed, entitled, dismissive, haughty or cheap collection of Christians been seen on the face of the earth.” [True dat – j]
I wish our restaurants paid their employees enough that they could survive on their wages alone, but they depend on tips, so we should be aware of that.
I think it’s best to think of our interactions with other people in two related ways. First, if this person knows I am a Christian, how is my behavior reflecting what that means to me? Second, I think it is our job in the world to show Christ’s love to others, and that love does not necessarily need to be linked to an explicit presentation of the gospel.
When I think about this attitude, it makes it a lot easier for my natural tightwad to put an extra dollar in that jar or on that table. What better use for a few dollars than to repeat God’s generosity toward others?
It helped my attitude a lot when I stopped looking at tipping as some kind of obligatory burden, and started looking at it as another opportunity to be generous. I ask God for opportunities to share His love all the time, as I’m sure a lot of Christians do. Well, there you go: it’s right in front of your face every time you go to Denny’s.