Tipping is somewhat of a controversial subject. It seems like it shouldn’t be, but it is. When do I tip? How much do I tip? When is it appropriate to not tip someone who usually gets tipped?
I believe that we are meant to be generous. We are to clothe the naked and feed the hungry; we are to give above our tithe and help the poor; and I think Christians should be known as good tippers. Unfortunately, we aren’t.
There have been stories (whether true or false) that you may have heard of waiters who are stiffed by Christians. I’ve even seen pictures where the person will write a nasty note on the tip line instead of tipping. I think one of the worst things you can do as a Christian is not tip your server, then hand them a tract, invite them to church, or say “God bless.”
“God bless” is not a tip.
For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7b
God knows the intentions of your heart. God understands that you truly want to help people and see them come to Christ. God knows that the truth found in that tract is more valuable than the $2 you would have left as a tip, but your waiter doesn’t. God looks at your heart, but your waiter only sees the outward appearance, that is, your tip. In that moment, it doesn’t matter what your eternal reward may be, what’s important is the seed you plant with that waiter.
Every time you have an interaction with a waiter, a pizza delivery boy, a barista or a gas station attendant (if you live in Oregon or New Jersey) you are planting a seed in that person. The seed you plant can either be a good seed that can grow and lead to their salvation, or it can be a bad seed that will grow into bitterness towards you and ultimately Christianity. Personally, I want to plant good seeds. If you tip well and say “God Bless,” you are planting good seeds; if you tip poorly or not at all and say “God bless,” God’s blessing won’t matter one bit to that person and you will have planted a bad seed in that person’s life.
Jesus once gave a parable about a man who was about to get fired. The man ended up being commended by his boss because he used the bosses money to make his clients like him. That way he would have new job opportunities once his current job ended. This is the lesson of the parable;
And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.
Jesus was telling his disciples that they should use money to make friends. Jesus understood that money is a tool that can be used to make people like you. He knew that in the end, you won’t be any better off still having that money in your hand, but you will be better off gaining the favor of man by giving it away.If a server knows you, and knows you tip well, they will be more open to the gospel.
I think this verse is telling us to be good tippers (and to be both smart and generous with our money). By giving good tips, you are making friends of the servers you are tipping. If that server knows you, and knows that you tip well when their service is over, they will be more open to both you and the gospel.
Here are some quick tips on tipping well;
- Tipping at a restaurant: never less than 15% of your total. 30%-50% is better.
- Tipping a delivery boy: a $6-$10 tip on a normal sized delivery always leaves an impression. If you are ordering more than $100 worth of food, $10 is a minimum, $15-$20 is better.
- Tipping a barista: always throw at least $1 in their jar, $5 or more will make a lasting impression.
- Tipping a gas station attendant: $1-$3 or more is always leaves a good impression because they often don’t get tipped at all.
A good general rule of thumb is if you tip well consistently, people will start to remember you and will be more open to an invitation to church or the gospel. A good tip opens doors to you and to the gospel more than you might think. Stop thinking of tipping as a chore or a reward for good service, and start thinking of that tip as the key to that person’s salvation. If you can give them a little bit more to bring them a little bit closer to Christ, isn’t a few extra dollars worth it?