Friday, June 3, 2011

Are you a Christian "Tightwad"?

Be forewarned: This post is a rant. This is my rant against Christians who are tightwads--too cheap to tip their servers in restaurants; Christians who leave tracts instead of a tip in their vain, hollow attempts at holiness and evangelism.

As a struggling college student, I remember working as a busboy and waiter, and receiving what looked like a dollar bill but really was a tract which inside read: “Here’s a tip"...and proceeded to give a distillation of the Gospel. Guess where those tracts ended up? In the restaurant garbage disposal. I don’t know of a single server who ever came to Jesus because of one of those stupid tracts. By the way, because of inflation, there is now a $20. bill tract which you can leave and gives you the comfort of knowing you’re not cheap because at least it’s the thought that counts, even if it’s just a printed tract.

Going back 40 yrs., I remember that nobody wanted to work on Sundays. My co-workers despised the Sunday church crowd. At first, I tried to make excuses for the boorish behavior of the Christian crowd that packed into our restaurant on Sunday. But then I began to realize that these people were actually a stumbling block to my fellow workers. They saw nothing attractive in the lives or behavior of these religious folks dressed in their Sunday best. In fact, they dreaded the sight of the church rush that would descend on us at about 12:15 pm, after the last hymn and the benediction. Why is that?

I have a daughter who has worked as a server in San Diego, Nashua, NH, and Paducah, KY. She will attest to the fact that Paducah ranks dead last in terms of tipping, and has the some of the most boorish, demanding and downright mean-spirited church folks on Sundays. A party of 15 come in and expect you to put 4 tables together for them quickly because they are starved! And they tell you to speed it up because they have to be on their way in a hour. Then they ask you to put the orders on 4 separate checks. You attend to their every need, including refills and boxing up several “to go” leftovers. When the separate checks are added together, the total comes to $224.78. Your gratuity comes to $11.22. One lady in the group says to you as they get up to leave, “That was the best service. I pray that you have a blessed day.” My thought would be, “Lady, if you want me to have a blessed day, why not start with a generous tip in appreciation for the excellent service I just gave you!”

I'll continue this “rant” tomorrow in part 2 on restaurant tipping, examining some of our excuses we make for our stingy, less-than-Christian behavior.
But let me close with this. I believe this nation needs a revival. We need another Great Awakening. I believe we need to have God’s Spirit fall upon us as a people and change our hearts and our behavior, and it needs to begin with those who call themselves Christians. I will believe that revival has hit America not when churches are packed out, not when thousands are getting saved and filled with the spirit—I will believe that a Spirit-led revival has swept this nation when restaurant servers want to work on Sundays because the Christians who show up are the nicest, most caring, most generous customers that any server could ever have. That’s what I’m praying for.

What about you? Are you a generous tipper? Do you think Christians leave a “good witness” at most restaurants on Sunday? Do you have any personal stories to share? Or maybe you think I’m making too much of this and need to be more gracious towards the Sunday church crowd. What are your thoughts?


  1. Look at the fat people we have in our churches. They go and gorge themselves then judge those of us who have an occasional cocktail or glass of wine as being unspiritual and not fit for their congregation which I believe is a good thing. I don't want to be in their congregation. Kim and I always tip generously 15-20% plus. I heard one of her "Christian" friends state once that she only tipped 10% because that is all she gave God. Well, I wanted to tell her that God doesn't need her money but that person waiting her table makes their living on tips. Come on! This pisses me off too Dale! Okay, I feel better now.

  2. Amen! I agree with you Dale! We always leave at least a 20% tip...even if we don't get the greatest service. I believe we need to set an example and hope that Christians who are tightwads will reflect on how generous Jesus is to us!

  3. My daughter worked at a couple different restaurants over the past year or so. In each case, she and co-workers would try to get out of working Sundays because "church people" were so stingy.

    For many of the unchurched waiters and waitresses, the stingy so-called "Christian" is the only encounter with Christ they see. And the picture these tightwads present is, unfortunately, unlike the character of Christ.