Did you hear the news story the other day about the sports star who left a $.20 tip? I think it was a sports guy. I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention. I just remember thinking that was pretty cheap.
Even if your service is awful in a restaurant, generally I think it’s a good idea to at least leave a 10% tip. I’m pretty sure 15% is standard in Kansas and 20% is expected in other cities. But I’ve never worked in service, so I don’t know for sure. I just know I’m glad someone is bringing me my food and I don’t have to get up and get it.
What I really hate to hear, though, is about some well-meaning Christ follower leaving a measly tip along with an invite to attend services the following week. I mean, I get what they’re doing, but if you’re going to invite a waiter or waitress to attend your church, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you give them a decent tip.
But why is that so hard to do? Why is tipping so difficult? Is it because food prices have gone up so high that adding that extra 10% or 15% or 20% onto the bill will break you? Or is it because you just haven’t received good service?
I can understand in both circumstances. But leaving a tip, especially if you intend to make it a witnessing opportunity, is more than just a tip. It’s a chance to be Christ to someone else.
Today’s verse is Philemon 1:4-7.
I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.
I’m reading Philemon this week, and if you haven’t heard of it, it’s a little bitty book in the back of the New Testament. It’s only one chapter, and it’s jam packed full of awesome.
The back story? It’s basically how Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, encounters this runaway slave named Onesimus. Paul leads Onesimus to Christ in prison, and then he writes a letter to Onesimus’s owner, Philemon, who is a well-known Christ-follower. And Paul begs Philemon to forgive Onesimus for running away and welcome him back not only into his employment as a fellow man but also as a brother in Christ.
It’s a tiny little chapter. Go read it.
And what Paul says in this passage really resonated with me. If you have faith, you’ll be generous. It’s plain and simple. And it’s true if you think about it. The most generous people I’ve ever known have a boatload of faith. Why? Well, they believe that God will bless them when they give their resources away in His name.
I don’t know about sports stars, but Christians should have faith. If you’re a Christ-follower, if you’ve chosen to believe in Christ to save you from your sins so you can have a relationship with God, you have faith. Period. And if you have faith, you should learn how to be generous.
But how do you get there? Well, check out the verse.
You learn to be generous through faith after you understand and experience the goodness of God. Can anyone speak to that? I can. I’ve known God long enough to be stunned speechless when I think about everything He has done for me.
And if God can afford to be so generous with me, why can’t I be generous with other people? No, I don’t have a lot to give financially, but I can give what I can. God will bless it. I don’t have as much time as I used to have either, but what I have, I can give to people and causes that need it. And God will bless it. But most of all, I have what God has given me—and that’s love. And love is the most expensive, free gift in the world, and since the love I can offer others comes from God, my store is unlimited.
So don’t be stingy with the resources God has given you. You’ve had faith He would provide in the past, and He did. So put that faith into action and be generous with the people around you, whether that’s financially or emotionally.
Maybe you can’t afford it, but God can. And it’s His bank you’re pulling from in the first place.