Changed My Mind About Tipping

Photo by Tax Credits

It is an argument that predates my marriage by a long shot: how much to tip? Up until tonight, I felt the established, unwritten rule that pervades American dining culture fails in that it is disproportionately dependant on the cost of the food compared to the quality of the service.

For simplicity sake, let’s take two restaurants that have equally good service. In fact, everything is the same except for the cost of the beverage: Restaurant A charges $1.00 per beverage & Restaurant B charges $2.00 per beverage.  Based on the American tipping system, you would tip more in B, solely because they were willing to charge you more for the drink.

I had a very difficult time letting this go, even with friends who worked in the service industry. Eventually, I was so frustrated that I just let my wife handle paying the bill. 
However, I came across something tonight that completely changed my perspective of the whole tithing system.  At our men’s discipleship group, we were talking about being generous with your money and how that is displayed not only in tithes but in other areas as well. The point was made that we should be generous with our tipping and view it through the lens that we are able to bless others who working to put food on their table.  Paul wrote it a different way in his letter to the Ephesians:

Let the thief steal no more. Instead teach him to work with his hands so that he can provide for those in need. 

Tipping is an opportunity to bless others.  I can use the money earned from my work to be generous to those who are serving me in their work. From this perspective, it’s not about 15% or how much the meal cost, but about how generous we can be with our resources even if that person hasn’t showed up on the roster of a charitable event.

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