Don’t Make Baby Jesus Cry Because You Tip Bad

August 29, 2012 — 4 Comments


Every two years my particular denomination has an assembly to bring us together for meetings and worship services. We literally take over the entire uptown of whatever city we choose. The local restaurants get to serve us three times a day and money is made and of course, that is a great things for any economy. However, while everyone is making money…from time to time, the servers in those restaurants get missed when the tipping is bad.

Many years ago I was at one of our assemblies. I was eating the first night in a very good establishment. The place was packed with Christ followers. Our waitress was doing a great job but you could see frustration on her face. It troubled me, so I asked her, “Is everything okay? You seem upset.” She paused, leaned in close to my ear and said, “There is a religious meeting in town and most of the people in here are Christians and tips are horrible. Why are religious people always the worst tippers?”

I was both shocked and blessed by her comment. I was shocked because as a Christ follower, we should be the best when it comes to leaving tips. I was blessed because I didn’t look like a preacher to her. (insert smile)

I have no conclusive way of saying that Christians are the worst tippers but I can say that many servers in restaurants seem to think so. I’ve asked many over the years while eating and the answer is all most always…religious people.

Okay, so allow me to cut to the chase. I believe as Christians, we should be the best tippers of them all. You just never know how your tipping can open a door for ministry. For example, the restaurant I mentioned I was eating at, I ended up giving  her a really big tip and then decided to eat every meal that week in the same place. The next night she saw my friend and I in line and asked for us. Once we were seated, she shared how thankful she was over the tip we left. We then shared with her we were preachers. She was shocked and smiled. Long story short…by the end of the week after eating there 5 times and getting to know her, I was able to share Christ with her and she accepted Him into her life.

Your tipping is a witness and the better you tip, and the more often you frequent the same restaurant, the more your influence will grow or shrink. My advice to you would be this: think of your tip as a missions offering, and represent Jesus in a lavishly giving way. For years I’ve always tipped 20% or more and I always get the name of the server and if they are available the next time I’m at the restaurant I ask for them by name.

I guess you can see where I’m heading with this one. In other words, the restaurant becomes my mission field and dealing with the same person over and over becomes a great way to built a relationship. If they are a believer, I minister to them by having a  conversation throughout the evening as they serve my family. If they are not a believer I make it my goal to one day win them to Christ.

Finally, if the service is really bad…I tip big anyway. I call it mercy tipping, after all God is merciful to me when I don’t serve Him well. I simply pass it on. Now get out there and tip better…You wouldn’t want baby Jesus to cry would you?


Thoughts? Leave a comment.

Steve Wright

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Lead Pastor of Legacy Church and Author of The Descent to Compassion

4 responses to Don’t Make Baby Jesus Cry Because You Tip Bad

  1. I remember when you preached on tipping, thanks for sharing again

  2. I made similar experiences with the mechanics who work on my car in the shop.
    I always tip them and know them by name and they know who I am; asking me questions about my faith which I gladly answer, + always get a great job done on my car.
    To make this even better, one must know that tipping is very unusual in Germany!
    Bless you for this post!

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