The church and it’s culture of tipping …
You’ve probably read the many stories of interviews from servers in restaurants who say Christians are the worst tippers (the photo above is a REAL example).
I’ve heard the same.
It’s not just that so many Christians are cheap, it’s that we’ve developed a cheap “tipping” mentality within the church.
For example, when we read of the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), we see a single person who took on the task of meeting an important need of someone else, in its entirety, all by himself. We don’t encourage that very often today. In fact, we take the most simple of needs, such as doing a little painting for an elderly person in the community, and turn it into a huge all-church project. It might take rallying 20 people for a project that would take one person a few hours and $20 to do.
Instead of teaching Christians to serve others in whole ways — which would be more costly at the individual level — we teach people to break down service in small enough slices that there’s no real cost (and certainly no “pain”) involved personally. We look at service as how we might be able to do something for someone and remain in our comfort zones. When it begins to challenge our comfort by costing us, we either pass on the need to others or outsource it altogether to parachurch ministries or state agencies.
Sometimes needs are big enough to require rallying others to help meet the whole need. Not only is there nothing wrong with that, it’s something we see done as we read about the early church in the book of Acts. They worked together to the point that there was NO NEED left among them!
“All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need,” Acts 4:32-35.
But even when the early Christians worked together, it wasn’t because they were paring down their service to keep themselves in their comfort zones, it was because the need was bigger than their individual resources, which they were willing to give. But notice, when a need that big did come along, a Christian didn’t ignore it, thinking it was too big for them to handle; instead, they rallied the church to come together and do whatever was necessary to meet the need.
There wasn’t a “tipping mentality” among those early Christians!
That’s because they had a mindset more like what Pastor Edward Skidmore of Castle Hills Christian Church describes in this story …
“Years back, I heard someone talk about the ‘faucet principle,’ and I’ve discovered that it really works. If I turn on a faucet at my house, I have the entire contents of the Edwards Aquifer at my disposal. I don’t need to worry that if I run the water I’ll end up with a trickle … unless, of course, I fail to pay my water bill. There’s more than enough water available for anything I might need. I need not be stingy with my water.
“The same principle works with my giving. I have a spiritual faucet — connected to the storehouses of heaven itself. When I turn on the faucet to give, there is an abundant supply to meet that need, with an abundance left over. I need not hoard my assets under the assumption that the reservoir might dry up. My heavenly supply is abundant, above anything I might imagine. I can give freely, knowing that God will see to it that I can give again tomorrow.”
These early Christians teach us to serve in a way that’s opposite of the cheap tipper. Instead of tipping a need, they took on a need and met it completely. If they didn’t have the personal resources to do that, they worked with other Christians until the need was wiped out.
Are there people in need within your church?