The confusion for me comes from a couple of angles. To begin with I don’t really get the logic of tipping. It seems to me that when I tip someone usually I’m tipping them to do a job they are already paid to do. Does that make any sense? Why am I having to add to the pay their employer gives them? Personally I would prefer that if people are not paid adequately to do a job that their employer raise their pay so they don’t have to depend on tips. The employer, of course, will pass the cost on to me, but it will be part of the package I pay for whatever the service I am receiving happens to be. But that’s only part of my problem. A bigger issue is often I find myself unclear and confused about exactly who I am supposed to tip. This whole question appears to me to be a mess. It is generally expected that one will tip the valets, bell men and maids at a hotel, but not the front desk people. Why is that? The norm is to tip cab drivers and shuttle bus drivers, but no one expects you to tip the pilots on the airliner. How come, since they perform similar functions? We all know it is expected to tip those who wait on us at restaurants, but we aren’t expected to tip the flight attendants who similarly serve us on airplanes. Why not? I was surprised when we rented an airplane to see that on the credit card form there was a place to add a tip. What’s up with that? Rental car companies don’t expect people to tip their employees when they rent cars so why should that even be mentioned when renting an airplane? I learned when I took a surfing lesson years ago that it is customary to tip the instructor, but Laurie doesn’t expect her piano students to tip her when she instructs them. Come to think of it, I’ve noticed that people don’t tip pastors for instructing them by preaching sermons. On a couple of occasions during our vacation I found myself wondering, “am I supposed to tip this person?” Where is the rule book for this tipping thing? It gets even more weird when you learn that there are nations in the world where it is considered an insult if you tip someone. Maybe I should live there.
As usual, God has some wisdom for us. At the end of 2 Corinthians 9:7 Paul wrote, “God loves a cheerful giver.” It is common to think that has to do with giving money to the church, and it certainly applies there, but in the context it is clear that Paul is talking about having a spirit of generosity. In verse 9 he wrote of people God is pleased with, “they have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” That verse equates generosity and righteousness. Doesn’t “freely scattering gifts” sound like tipping? It sure does to me. Proverbs 11:25 says, “a generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” In Matthew 10:8 Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give.” I realized that godly generosity is the principle that can most help me with tipping.
God wants me to err, if you can call it that, on the side of generosity. When in doubt give, and do so generously. Yes, sometimes it is inconvenient, but I found that when I see tipping as an opportunity to bless another person in the name and grace of our Lord, it can be kind of fun. There is joy to be found in doing the will of God. Blessing other people is a joyful way to live. So while it may be confusing and inconvenient, even kind of annoying at times, when I see it as an opportunity to be generous the way God is generous with me I find the annoyance is replaced with gladness. I found that it is really pretty fun to think I could maybe bring a little blessing into another person’s life just by generously giving to them. Just thought I’d pass along this tip.