Many years ago, after college and while trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, I delivered pizzas. It was a decent job, I left with cash every night, and I spent most of my time on the road listening to good music. But there was one part I couldn’t stand. It wasn’t the boss; I was old school friends with the managers. It wasn’t the low employment status; I liked my work better than most of the other people I knew.
It was being disrespected right to my face by customers.
I am not talking about 2-pie customers who didn’t tip. I’m not talking about the 6 drunk people on the porch who were overly suspicious that I did something to the pizza. I’m not even talking about the folks who lived on gravel roads and couldn’t give good directions to the sink if they were standing in the kitchen. I’m talking about 20, 30 or 50 pizza orders from churches, schools and other organizations. Further, it wasn’t that they ordered that many.
It was that, most of the time, I didn’t get tipped.
Churches were usually the worst because, even though I wasn’t going to church much back then, I knew that their stated goal was to tell people about Jesus. Usually, I had to climb 100 flights of stairs, jump over a crocodile pit, and then repel down a brick wall to get the pizzas to the correct room, gym, or other location. Upon delivery, the pies were meticulously inspected for accuracy, the delivery time was complained about, and the exact amount was waiting for me. Oh yeah, sometimes I got a thank you.
The point is that the one thing that could have made a difference, that could have shown love or concern for another human being, that might have made a pizza delivery person interested in what a church was about was completely missed.
Tipping is extremely important. If you think I over stress this it means you are a bad tipper. Sunday shifts at restaurants are always the worst because church people complain the most, make the most demands and tip the worst. Based on the law of averages your waiter or waitress is probably a non-believer too.
For the sake of instruction, I have compiled a baseline for what is required for believers when they go to restaurants that don’t have the option to super size.
1. If it’s on Sunday, even if you are wearing your favorite Slayer t-shirt and never mention anything about God, you have to tip 15% minimum.
2. If God, Jesus, Holy Spirit or anything related comes up in conversation, you have to tip 20%.
3. If you pray over your food before it’s consumed, your minimum is 20%. The point of that was to make a public declaration of your gratefulness wasn’t it? Don’t screw it up and be a jerk to the waitress.
4. If you try to ninja evangelize your waitress by asking if there’s anything you can pray for her about, your minimum is 25%. You were showing concern, weren’t you? Taking something before Almighty God shows that you’re serious, right? Leaving a small or nonexistent tip shows that you’ve just been attending too many weekend conferences in the Family Life Center, er, gym.
Above all, of utmost importance, on the seriousness level of “Break Glass in Case of Emergency,” do not ever, ever, ever leave a tract unless it’s accompanied by a serious donation to that waiter’s bank account. If you leave one in lieu of a tip, you’ve pretty much guaranteed that person has called you several foul names and now mocks the God you say you love. I am not kidding about this at all. How’s that for making an impact on the Kingdom?
Sure, Jesus is serious business, but the simplest and easiest way to show kindness to someone is by tipping well. And, really, if your biggest concern is for that person’s eternal soul then why aren’t you a regular at that restaurant? Familiarity is an easy way to build a relationship and, if you’re a good tipper, the staff at that restaurant will be much more likely to take what you say to heart.
If you have the cash to go out to eat, then you’ve got the cash to tip well. If your pretend concern is that the waiter is going to buy a bag of pot with your tip, then maybe you should see if Lifeway makes sandwiches nowadays.
Your generosity with money shows a lot about what you think of other people.
About Jake Harvey: For the past four years, Jake has held a secret security job protecting citizens of Fort Worth. Really, it’s just him riding around in his pickup truck with a shotgun. While driving around, his music choices go from Waylon Jennings to Clutch to TV on the Radio. When he stops at red lights, he is often reminded of his severe dislike of the Chicago Cubs and whining. When Jake’s patrol stops at the local 7-11 to scout out any troublemakers or hooligans, he always has to get a pack of gum and a strong cup of coffee. Jake also spends time studying economic theory, buying books and guns, and resisting the urge to breakdance when he sees cardboard on the ground. You can follow him @jakeharvey6.
*Photo credit: TerryJohnston