>>do I embarrass God sometimes? A few days ago I read a post from Mashable about a pastor who left a note for a waitress that read, “I give God 10% why do you get 18?” I got miffed at the anecdote knowing from my days of waiting tables that “church people” have a reputation as low tippers. I didn’t think much about it until the teller at the bank this morning referenced the article, and then I heard a table at lunch talking about it. Clearly, the social media community finds something to chew on with this story.
>>strictly speaking, as a self-reflective question, I think it’s a great thing to ask. Why would I give someone who serves me in a luxury activity a higher percentage of the transaction than I would give to the one who provides everything to me? If I consider that God sovereignly provides all that I have, is the first 10% really so much to ask? Ideologically, I don’t think so, but it’s been a while since that percentage was consistently higher.
>>the problem here is that it wasn’t a self-challenging reflection between this pastor and God, it was a snarky quip to the server. Even that makes me cringe a little. Again, not because the food service industry doesn’t need some refinements, but because it brings God into the consideration – and not exactly in a positive light. This pastor went so far as to scratch out the tip and write in $0. Now, the reality for the server is that they got “stiffed” (that’s what we called it when I was a server) and somehow it’s God’s fault. What really burns me is that it paints the picture of those who spend their lives serving God and sharing the most valuable gift in the universe are cheap-ass jerks. The fact that the server posted this in the Atheism section on Reddit gives an indication of how this pastor’s actions are perceived to represent God.
>>adding injury to insult, when the pastor heard about this, she contacted the restaurant and allegedly demanded that the whole wait staff be fired. The following day, the server who posted the image of the receipt was fired. The store manager Dan Smith was reported to say that the picture violated the privacy rights of the pastor. While I agree that I wouldn’t want my signature posted on the web for everyone to see, I find it tough to agree with Dan’s decision.
>>having been a server in my younger days, I have always been an over-tipper unless service is absolutely horrible – and even then I’ve never tipped less than 10%. But now every time I sit down at a restaurant, because I always ask the server if there’s anything I can pray for when I pray for my meal, I’m almost embarrassed that I have just self-identified as a Christian, and I feel like I have to leave even more gratuity to tip the balance (pun intended) of how we represent the generosity of our father.
Most people waiting tables are in a transitional period of life facing tough issues. That’s one of the reasons that illegal drug use is well above the national average in the food service industry. I would like to suggest that it wouldn’t hurt if we decided as pastors to be aware of that and treat them like we know them and love them. If we do that, perhaps instead of leaving work farther from God than when she came in, the kingdom of God might advance and someone might find the love and support that draws them closer to a loving God who suffered for their redemption! …and we wouldn’t have another pastor losing credibility and having to apologize.
>>it seems sacrilegious to say that we might embarrass God, but I know that as a father, if one of my children had done this, despite my love for them, I would be embarrassed. As pastors, (particularly XP’s) we have to be frugal, and keep an eye on the money. We have a stronger concept than most, of how ministry and finance interact. So what do are your thoughts, do you disagree?
>>1. should the server have been fired?
>>2. what would you do if one of your staff had done this?