1aloisreceiptIs it ok for a Christian not to leave a tip?  I don’t believe so.  I cringe when I hear about banter from waiters and waitresses who complain that Sunday after church is the worst time to work due to the lack of tips or receiving a tract instead of a tip.

The story about a St. Louis pastor who scrawled on her Applebee’s receipt, “I give God 10% why do you get 18.” and then signed Pastor above her signature after leaving $0 in the tip section.  She already paid an automatic gratuity since she was in a party of 20.

Appalling, what a way to tarnish your witness for Christ.  Atheists have run rampant with this story.  The pastor, Alois Bell, has since apologized and the waitress responsible for the leak of the receipt has been fired.

1 Peter 2:15-16 says, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God,” (ESV).

Do good.  Be salt and light.  Tip well.  You are a representative of Jesus to the person who is serving you.  If you think the service is bad, say so, but still tip well.  This is a good guide on tipping.  Here are some tipping don’ts.

Full disclosure, I’m not perfect at this.  Recently when I was out with a friend for lunch, I paid with cash at the register and I forgot to go back to the table.  I was horrified when I realized this (at home), but the next time I’m there I’ll double my tip (it’s usually the same waitress every time I go at lunch).

Tipping well is one way of showing God’s love and grace in a practical way.  He gives it freely and without condition, and so should we.  Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA made a great point that when we tip well even the service is bad and don’t deserve it it’s like God giving us His grace even though we don’t deserve it.


Share some of your tipping dos and don’ts in the comment section.

HT: Take Your Vitamin Z

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  1. She’s already getting 20% automatically. I worked as a server in college and we’d take dibs on the big parties because it meant an automatic tip. Would I be upset if they left me zero (considering I was already getting 20%) no. However, I feel the additional note was not necessary.

  2. Sorry Sir, but the purpose of tipping is to reward someone for a service. If the service was bad, the the tip should reflect that. There will always be people who take advantage of this rule and unfairly penalize the server by not leaving a tip, good service or not. There will also always be insensitive & rude people (pastors are people too…) that say stupid things. However, it is my choice to bless an undeserved person with my money as God leads me to do so. It is not a RIGHT of the server to receive a 10, 15, or 20% tip. When you have a large party and the gratuity is set up ahead of time, then it is a cost of your service. Recognizing the hard work of your server is important, Christian or not. Being generous as God leads you to be is an important part of a Christians life. Rewarding someone for bad service that feels entitled to your money is enabling them to continue. Be generous and give grace but use wisdom and follow the Holy Spirits leading.

  3. I agree with you, Shane. Christians can be some of the most frugal people, and sometimes we are cheap and fail to tip properly. Tipping is part of going out to eat. If you do not want to tip, or cannot afford to, then go “out to eat” somewhere like HyVee deli where you get your own food and serve yourself, and tipping is not expected.

  4. This pastor should be ashamed of herself. And as Christians we should remember we are to be examples of grace and are the only bible some people will ever read. It grieves me that as believers we have left a legacy of demanding, complaining, and outright selfishness with a lost world. What Jesus are you showing people?I wonder if she is expecting the same grace she showed that server?

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