Two different tips from supposed wealthy individuals were in the news recently as servers from the restaurants snapped photos of the bills and posted them online. One turned out to be a hoax, however.
First, the true story. Peyton Manning enjoyed dinner at the famous Angus Barn restaurant in Raleigh. His bill was $739.58, which included an 18-percent gratuity, but Manning added an additional $200, making the tip about 50 percent of the total.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, a "wealthy banker" supposedly left an ridiculously low 1% tip with an insulting message handwritten on the bill: “Get a real job.”
You may have seen on the news that the "banker" receipt was a hoax, but in both cases, the tip said more about the person tipping than the quality of the service. A grateful person is generous, and a self-consumed person is selfish.
The polarizing tipping practices of Manning and the "banker" are similar caricatures to the giving practices of people in our churches. Sadly, many believers are like the mythical 1% man—they have lost their sense of awe and gratitude and are stingy in their giving. The 1% man may have been mythical. They, unfortunately, are not.
People were livid with this 1% man—and even moreso after the hoax was revealed. But he was initially roasted in the news because no one gives that little! Most people give 10-15% even for bad or mediocre service because they know their tip sends a message about their character. It may be helpful to ask believers to reflect on how much they typically tip a server, even for bad service. How does that compare with their giving?
For believers struggling with giving generously to God (whether you use the principle of the tithe or not)—has God’s service been that bad to you? Is His creation just mediocre? Is His sacrifice just OK? Is His gracious and relentless pursuit of you only average? Are His blessings less valuable than the refill of Diet Coke?
When the apostle Paul motivated believers to give generously, he appealed to the grace of Christ. He connected the challenge to “excel in the grace of giving” with the grace extended to us in Christ:
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich. (II Corinthians 8:9)
Paul knew when a believer’s heart—when your heart—is overwhelmed with gratitude because of Jesus, generous giving is the result. It is painfully ironic that some “believers” would be outraged with the reported 1% tipper, yet they respond to God in a similar fashion.
For those who wish to extend the parable and say, “I would give generously if I made lots of money.” Not true. If you struggle giving on $10,000 annually, you will struggle equally or more on $100,000 annually. Because giving is ultimately about your heart and not the zeros on your paycheck.