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A tip you should take and a tip you should give

by Janet Denison
Friday, 08 February 2013
Bless a server - waitress at a wedding carrying three plates (Credit: MNStudio via Fotolia)A St. Louis pastor is regretting her recent trip to Applebees, but not because of a bad meal.  She is regretting her bad judgment.  Pastor Bell was offended when her server automatically added an 18% gratuity to her bill.  The pastor felt that the tip should have been her choice, rather than listed as a required payment.  I think a lot of us would agree with the idea that the amount of a gratuity is supposed to be a choice.  I also think most of us would disagree with the way the Pastor chose to respond to her bill.  Pastor Bell picked up her pen and wrote these words on the receipt: "i give God 10%, why do you get 18?"  (I'm hearing a collective "gasp" as each of you read those words!)  But before any of us make room for our righteous indignation and cast a stone . . . answer this.  How many of you would want your worst restaurant moment photographed, posted on the Internet and seen by millions of people the next week?  (And BLOGGED about!)  But the purpose of this blog post is to make something good out of something that wasn't good.  So I want to offer you all a tip, so that you can offer a tip to someone else.

The Huffington Post ran the Applebees story in their religion section and has received almost 3000 comments to date.  Suffice it to say, the St. Louis Pastor truly and completely regrets her choice not to just pay the 18% and leave quietly!  In addition, the Applebees waitress was fired because, when she photographed the receipt and posted it to Reddit, her actions were considered a "breach of privacy."  To say that this story has stirred up emotions would be an enormous understatement.  Huffington Post ran a follow-up article in their comedy section about another Applebees receipt that was posted on the internet by Christian Nightmares, a page devoted to degrading the Church.  That receipt read, "I give God 0% so you get 28%!"  So which receipt is the average person going to appreciate more? 

This isn't a question of who is right and who is wrong because both are both.  A gratuity is supposed to be a choice, and Christians are supposed to be grateful.  The St. Louis pastor probably wishes she had gone to the Olive Garden.  The Applebees waitress probably wishes she had not added her gratuity to the bill, and posted that response on the Internet.  And each of us can probably think of a time we made a foolish choice and suffered the consequences.  The greatest sadness for a Christian results from those times when our human weaknesses damage our witness, hurts the name of Jesus - and grants a victory to Satan himself.  I know I hate the times I have made Satan "smile."

Bless a Server Scripture card by Janet and Craig DenisonSo how can we bring a Romans 8:28 moment from our moment of weakness?  Learn from that pastor's mistake, offer her - and the server - the grace we would want someone to offer us, and see what we can do to advance the Kingdom of God in a new way.  I have thought for awhile that we should leave more than money to the people in this world who serve us at a restaurant.  If you treat your server with respect and gratitude, they will probably notice your kindness.  MOST people treat them as a means to an end.  The fact that you saw the person serving you as a human being with a life and a life story, will mean that you have an opportunity to speak a word about the Lord to them.  It isn't always easy to do that in a rushed and crowded situation, so I want to offer a way for you to leave a tip AND a small moment of blessing.  If you click on the tip tract located in this post, you will be able to download and print a page with a verse of encouragement for those who serve you.  Print as many as you want, and leave one whenever you leave a tip. 

But I have been told to remind my readers NOT to leave a tract INSTEAD of a tip!  Earn the right to share God's word by showing God's presence in your life first.  Be kind.  Be generous.  Be godly.  I hope I am sitting in a restaurant one day and notice one of these tracts sitting on a table - with a generous and thoughtful tip.  Someone once said, "The test of generosity is not how much you give, but how much you have left."  Give money, and leave them a moment with God. and print those tracts.  Then decide which restaurant you want to eat at tonight!  (See...reading this post got you out of the kitchen today too!)


+4 # Minni 2013-02-08 11:16
Another tip to consider...a sweet elderly couple at FBC Garland shared how before they pray over their food, they let their waiter/waitress know they will be thanking God for the food, and ask if he/she has any prayer requests he/she would like to share. They actually get a lot of responses. We frequent the same restaurants and try to get to know the folks there. One thing we have heard, which is so unfortunate, is that waiters/waitresses dread serving the church crowds, as they are the lousiest tippers and the rudest. Gotta remember we are still Christians in restaurants, long lines, in traffic...people around us take note of our behavior.
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+5 # Trace Kennedy 2013-02-08 12:03
I was getting ready to share this same tip. Dear friends of mine do this every time they eat out and I have been blessed to be with them on occasion and witness the positive and often pleasantly surprised looks on the servers' faces. It's amazing how simply asking "how may I pray for you?" Lightens their step and their load, and even personalized their service. I often wonder why people find it so difficult to be kind to strangers regardless of their profession.
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+4 # Judy 2013-02-08 14:04
Thank you, Janet, for your amazing insight and application! I was raised by parents from modest backgrounds in West Texas and through the years, gained a great appreciation and respect for how they treated others. Admittedly, when I first began consciously engaging waiters, clerks, receptionists, etc in a more personal way by asking questions and taking a genuine interest in them, my children were embarrassed. Listening to authentic life situations and struggles while witnessing the genuine reactions of feeling truly cared for eventually served as a springboard for many teaching moments and has hopefully made them more decent human beings! Your tract is a wonderful idea as well as lifting up our servers when we bless our meals. I am afraid that the phrase, "You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him" is at risk of becoming obsolete with this generation. Is this risk more prevalent in our larger communities? Your thoughts?
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-3 # Vonda Ristow 2013-02-08 14:48
Please before you blog about something, get your facts straight. The restaurant's computer added the 18% gratuity, not the waitress-because the pastor was in a large group dining together-many restaurants do this-and most places will post that on their menus. The pastor sent a letter to the restaurant demanding every employee be fired, even those who weren't involved-only the employee who posted the receipt was fired-not the waitress who waited on the pastor-that woman worked hard to serve the pastor for minimum wage-$3.675/hr. She got that and a snarky note from the pastor. I'm personally glad to have been informed of this pastor's actions. They speak louder than words. Would Jesus have written that to a woman who waited on Him?
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+1 # Janet Denison 2013-02-08 16:06
Our actions do speak loudly Vonda. And I did read several different articles before writing the blog. I didn't see any of this information in your comment at that time. There might be additional information available now. I would be interested to know where you read/heard your perspective. Regardless, the need for grace, for all involved, would be my point. I'd like to think we could use someone's weak moment for a higher purpose. We all make mistakes and we have a God that can redeem those mistakes for his greater good.
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0 # Janet Denison 2013-02-08 15:57
These are some great suggestions for the restaurants. I hope I will walk into restaurants with a new commitment to those who would serve me. Thank you all for your thoughts!
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+2 # James 2013-02-08 23:07
At Applebees the other night we were served by a nice looking young man. One in our party, a double Purple-Heart Marine from the Korean War, asked the young man, "Were you in the service?" He responded, "Yes I was a Marine in Iraq." They did the Semper Fi thing. We were well served and left him well tipped. We all thanked him for his service and he thanked my friend for his service. I'm glad we ate a Applebees that night
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+2 # Matt Campbell 2013-12-06 08:59
Why do employers in America pay their workers such rubbish wages in the first place. In Austria the minimum wage is about $16.00 per hour for hospitality workers. Please explain.
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-1 # Matt Campbell 2013-12-06 09:04
Quote above Should be Australia.
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0 # J. Wallace 2013-12-06 11:24
Agree..I don't think we should have to supplement the salary of a waiter/waitress. A tip SHLULD be for good service - not a forced deed!
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