Tipping and Tithing

If you haven’t heard the story about the pastor not leaving her waitress a tip by now, this may not completely make sense.  Although, if I think about it for a minute, the details really don’t matter because there is a greater principle that needs to be discussed.  First of all, this pastor makes a serious flaw in either A) elevating man to the status of God or B) bringing God down to the status of man.  How, you may ask? Simply by misunderstanding the difference between a tithe and a tip.  A tithe (for a Christian) is an act of worship to God, whereby we give Him the first fruits (10%) of our increase.  In all reality we are giving back a portion of what He gave us in the first place.  We are showing Him reverence by sacrificing what is in our possession and proclaiming that He is our provider.  A tip on the other hand is a form of gratuity.  It is a sum of money that we give to someone when we are grateful for a service.  If we equate a tithe to a tip, then it is not a form of worship to God for who He is, but rather an act of thanksgiving for something He has done.

Now, I don’t expect every Christian to completely understand the principle of tithing, because studies and polls have shown very few actually tithe.  I also don’t expect every Christian (pastors included) to live a perfect life without making mistakes.  This pastor obviously sees that she made a “laps in judgment”, but what lesson should we as followers of Christ learn from this?  I’d suggest we try to actually be Christ-like.  That means we need to spend even more time reading the Gospels to learn from Jesus’ example.  We also need to read the rest of the Bible to have the same mind in us that was in Christ.

There are some pretty simple principles that can and should be applied when a Christian is going out to a restaurant.  First, remember that the laborer is worthy of his hire (1 Tim. 5:18).  That waiter or waitress is serving you.  They are performing a service for you.  They are deserving of a reward for that service.  Secondly, the whole “do unto others” thing that Jesus told us, could not be more appropriate than in a scenario such as this one.  That’s because when you read Luke 6:30-32 in context you’ll see how it directly applies.  Let’s face it, we have all had horrible service when eating out and most if not all of us have felt like stiffing the staff because somehow that seems right and just.  Well, folks let me toss this thought out there.  How would your life be if God were only righteous and just and not equally merciful and gracious?

With all of that being said, I’d like to quickly address the waitress that was fired by reminding us all of a lesson our parents have tried to instill in us.  TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT!  The waitress that was fired was not even the one that was waiting on this pastor. So, first off she needed to mind her own business.  Also, just because someone did you (or a co-worker) wrong doesn’t justify you violating one’s right to privacy by posting this.  I actually applaud Applebee’s for their quick action in terminating this employee.  They have a standard that their employees must operate at and by acting the way they did they have maintained that standard.  I have worked in the food service industry and customer service for many years and understand that sometimes a customer can be very rude and disrespectful, but that is never a valid reason for reacting the way this employee did.

Next time you’re out to dinner and you get horrible service, imitate God by being merciful (not giving what is deserved) and gracious (giving what is not deserved).  And if you are on the flip-side of this and don’t get a tip or very minimal one, try remembering the words of our Lord Jesus that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’

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