Friday, February 1, 2013

I Give God 10%!

Yeah, I saw the Yahoo! News Article.

I also just read that the waitress who posted the receipt and note left by the pastor was fired because the pastor was offended by the posting of the picture.


There are just so many things wrong with this scenario as in so many ways it poorly reflects upon Christians, pastors, and the witness we are called to provide to the world.

First off, I'd like to remind the pastor who left the tip, God doesn't demand 10%.  That's the minimum given in the Old Testament--the tithe.  Read a little bit more through Scripture, and you will see that Jesus demands much, much more.  Jesus demands everything:

16 Then someone came to him and said, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ 17And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ 18He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19Honour your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ 20The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these; what do I still lack?’ 21Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions. --Matthew 19:16-22

Jesus wants our entire life.  He wants our bank accounts.  He wants our hearts.  He wants our minds.  He wants everything.  If we take Jesus' call seriously, money is something we seek to give away and not keep for ourselves-including when we tip.

Secondly, we Christians are called to live lives full of generosity.  It is one of those fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians.  I am not extremely wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but it is my rule of thumb to leave a 20% tip for a waitperson at a restaurant.  Sometimes, I leave even more.  I will tip even if the service is bad.  That might seem stupid, and it is.  But I believe as Christians we are called to live by a different standard.  If we were "tipped" by God according to our ability to follow and do His Word, we'd be up the creek without a paddle.  God does not "tip" or offer His gifts based upon our service to Him.  Instead, He lavishly gives to us even when we don't deserve it.  I try to do the same, especially if I see the waitperson struggling to keep up with a crowd or deal with unruly customers or what have you.  Being a small blessing at such times speaks volumes.

Third, when confronted with a sin, I believe we are called to repent, not get offended.  This waitress called this pastor out for her selfishness and her Pharisaical nature.  Since the waitress couldn't exactly track her down or what have you, the waitress used the next best thing: social media.  Seeing this receipt should have led to humility, but instead, the pastor took offense and now someone is without a job, income, and perhaps has a pretty significant mark against her when it comes to being rehired.  Is this how Christians witness?

As a pastor, when I am taught such lessons, I seek repentance.  I apologize for my behavior, and I seek to do better next time.  Knowing you are sinful means you are willing to admit that you have clay feet and that you have "lapse[s] in ...character and judgment.  And YOU DO NOT SEEK RETRIBUTION ON THE ONE WHO EXPOSED YOUR SIN!!!

In my estimation, this pastor should march down to that particular Applebees with as many of her congregation who will come with her and demand that this waitress be given her job back.  Then, she should humble herself and apologize to that waitress for her behavior and ask for forgiveness in front of her flock and everyone around.  Then, she should hand over several dollars above and beyond the tip that was already included in her bill.  That would seem to be the Christian thing to do.

I'm not expecting to see it.



Kathy said...

Another great post. Have you ever thought of this? This is what I would do if I were you: Go through the last 2 or 3 years of your posts and pick out the best ones. Look them over, tighten them up a bit if necessary, and publish an anthology. You have a lot to say. You should do it. Remember "Using fish to catch fish"?

You could find some nice photos and illustrations for the book. You could help people -- and make some money.

Since I cannot bear to go without finding at least one thing to comment on -- yes, God demands all, but when you are leading a congregation of 4000 people or more, you also need to drop down a level (you can do both) and give a practical guideline -- 10% is good -- sometimes I give less, sometimes more, but it is my guideline.

Kathy said...

Just read your post again, and this jumped out at me: "21Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect...."

OK. I think I will do a post on this. The Lutheran Church for 500 years has been saying "Sola Scriptura," but then ignores the Scripture in favor of Luther's heretical theology: Man cannot become perfect because he does not have Free Will.

I am a man on a mission.