Mean Christians in an Age of Sensitivity

A while back, I asked for blog suggestions on my Facebook page (hey, let’s be friends, click for my Facebook page)… and William suggested, “Christians should tip well at restaurants.”

My mom, Dorothy, spent most of her adult life as a waitress (but I’m gonna stick with the now fashionable “waiter”). She started at a small diner in Chicago, and worked her way up to a banquet waiter at some nice hotels. When my parents moved to Florida, she continued waiting tables at different restaurants.

I learned restaurant etiquette from her, including not to blow bubbles to create foam in my milk shake, and not to pick gum off the bottom of the tables.

I also learned that the after-mass mass was the worst mass of all.

A number of waiters in my current home town tell me they dread the Sunday pm shift. Crabby, demanding patrons in Sunday best ruin the reputation of Jesus and then leave a lousy tip wrapped in a gospel tract.

Oh the humanity!

Cheap tippers lend credence to the old adage, “It’s not God I’m having difficulty with; it’s his people.” The Bible tells pastors to reprove and rebuke with all longsuffering, so here goes:



How far from the spirit of Christ! Hypocrites! Crabby, mean-spirited, bratty so-called followers of the One who GAVE HIS ALL?  How can this be? How can you walk out of the worship of the living God and so quickly unleash your Inner Jerk on waiters “groping in darkness” to find the God who made them?

“so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; (Acts 17:27, NKJV).

And here you are, you damnable cheap tipper, putting stumblingblocks in their way.  Tripping them up. Making them tell stories about lousy tips wrapped in cheesy tracts. STOP IT!

Dear Waiters of America, on behalf of Christians everywhere, I’m sorry. I apologize.

I’m not saying you have to go crazy with the tip. Lord knows everybody’s hurting right now. But 15% is standard and go higher from there.  Or else, just order carry-out. And, for our Lord’s sake, don’t pull out one of those “tip calculation cards…”  Just figure it out and round UP. For an extra buck, you make Jesus look good to a skeptic.

Paul’s exhortation regarding the Corinthians’ offering applies to everybody when it comes to the spirit of generosity:

Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. (2 Corinthians 9:5, NKJV).

Don’t begrudge the tip; it’s part of the price tag of eating out in our culture. You knew that walking in. And don’t be so demanding and critical of table service. Yes, you should expect professionalism, but not perfection.

Christ’s followers should be big-hearted, encouraging, and generous. Your life isn’t about how much money you kept in your wallet; it’s about how well your life pointed to your Savior.

Remember, you have a testimony. Even in a restaurant. Even with a waiter. You have a testimony. Your life witnesses to an all-gracious Savior. Remember that next time you eat out.

What you say with a tract can never undo what you say with your conduct.

Let your conduct be your testimony, and your tip be a token of Christ’s love.

Any waiters wanna sound off?  Use the comments section…


9 thoughts on “Mean Christians in an Age of Sensitivity

  1. THANK YOU FOR THIS!!! so many times have i heard, “i refuse to give someone a bigger percentage for their tip than i tithe to God”. what does that say about their mindset with tithing??? does it have to be 10% for God, and even less for someone who is trying to feed their family? God doesn’t need your money. It’s going to feed HIS family as well… Next time you look at your waiter, after using your manners and saying “yes please” and “thank you”, try looking at them as you would your son or daughter, because they ARE someones son or daughter, and imagine their life for a moment. Chances are, you will not look down on them since they are SERVING you. You would be thankful that there was someone there to bring you the meal you were too tired or busy to cook yourself. If you were at home, and your son or daughter brought you multiple refills on your coffee and made sure that your food was hot and made just the way you wanted it, you would be PROUD of them, not belittling. (and no, i am not a waiter, i just appreciate anyone who “serves” me because whether they know it or not, they are taking the stance that Jesus took, and that is something that I applaud)

  2. A tip is implicit gratitude, isn’t it? (Which is why it’s called a gratuity.) We pray and thank the Lord openly for the food at the table, but we don’t than the waiter for the service of the food at the same table. Reminds you of the Book of James, doesn’t it?


  3. Quite interesting. My hubby and I were in a YMCA, waiting for our zumba class to start and our teacher, also a waitress,was talking about this very subject! She talked about how “religious people” were the worst customers: they were very demanding, rude, unforgiving, and then they didn’t tip! First of all, it kinda made me mad she was loudly saying this in a Y- supposedly a “Christian environment”. But it also made me sad, that once again, us Christians are so hypocritical and forget that our very lives are a witness to someone like her who I can tell is struggling in life. Our family always try to be polite and helpful ( I, too, was once a waitress) as we have 3 young kids who make a mess, but it was convicting in that we need to go more out of our way to be kinder and more generous b/c of Jesus’ kindness and generosity to us. We don’t deserve it, yet it’s a free gift!

  4. A good friend once told me that when she started working the Sunday shift at a popular restaurant she was warned by the other servers not to expect much as a tip from church goers. “If they won’t give God 10%, they’re not going to give you 15” Yikes! Of course, she found it to be true.

  5. You can absolutely tell all you need to know about a person by the way they treat those who serve them.

    A rule to live by.

  6. Argh… I have been there. Was a barrista for over five years and experienced the tract in the tip jar and the attitude. I didn’t generally mind a cheap tip, the tract, however, was obnoxious. What was even worse, is that I recognized some of the Christian customers from my church…and a few leaders at that! I found myself apologizing to my co-workers for the consistently bad and picky attitude that they had to deal with from them. It’s not a good sign when your co-workers don’t want to serve a member/leader of your church because of the treatment that was received from them.

  7. Thank you for this. It is so true. When I was in college I was a waitress. I hated working Sunday’s because you worked harder than any other day for way less in tips. That wasn’t the worst part though. I had people tell me that I was going to hell because I was working and not attending church on Sunday. This turned me off from church for a long time. These people do not set a good example of a christian.

  8. Thanks, I’m going to start rounding up at 20%. No I don’t want to blow my own horn but I still feel guilty for all the other non tippers.

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