I feel like starting with the words the nurse says as she approaches your bed with one hand behind her back: "This won't take long, but it may sting a little."
Are you aware of what waiters and waitresses say about the Christians they serve? Do you have any idea how much they dread waiting on our tables in restaurants after church on Sundays? Or any other day when we go in groups with big Bibles under our arms? We gobble up the chow, asking for this favour and that, seldom pausing long enough to smile or say, "Thank you." That's bad enough, but then we leave a tip that is more of an insult than a generous expression of gratitude.
Just last week a waiter informed me that the place where he works has the toughest time getting a full crew to wait tables on Sunday. "We'd all rather work late Friday and Saturday nights week after week than work Sunday afternoons," he said.
When I asked why, he told me.
"Because Christians are usually loud, they often lack good table manners, and they are stingy with the tips."
The waiter who spoke to me is a Christian. He's on our side. And he's embarrassed. Says he has a tough time talking to the crew about Christ after the place closes at night. They give him this cynical "You gotta be kidding!" response that comes after six or eight of Christ's followers walk away, leaving a tract and a dollar bill. Or maybe just a tract. Sometimes, neither.
If you're among the thoughtful, the gracious, the kind who leave a full 15 per cent or more, keep it up. May your tribe increase. But if you're the type who falls into the tight-fisted and less than thoughtful category, how about thinking of your witness as something more than a Bible in your pocket and words out of your mouth? Sometimes it's what comes out of your pocket after something has gone into your mouth...and I'm not referring to a tract. Listen: "It is possible to give away and become richer! It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything. Yes, the liberal man shall be rich! By watering others, he waters himself" (Proverbs 11:24-25 TLB).
C'mon, Christian, loosen up. If you can afford to eat out, you can also handle a healthy tip. Maybe all you needed was a shot in the arm.
There's no doubt about it. Actions often speak much louder than words.
What are your actions saying?
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.