'Tips for Jesus' Sweeping the Country

Jim Denison | Denison Forum on Truth and Culture | Monday, December 09, 2013

'Tips for Jesus' Sweeping the Country

My first job was at a Dairy Queen, where I earned $1.62 an hour. "Dip cones" were my vocational specialty; chopping onions was less fulfilling.

I wish "Tips for Jesus" had been operating in those days, and not only for the money I might have received. You know a ministry is making an impact when Huffington Post headlines, "'Tips for Jesus' Shows Outrageous Christian Generosity." During my Dairy Queen days, my non-Christian friends would have been more impressed by this initiative than anything I could say to them.

Here's the story: while Christians are making the news for refusing to tip restaurant wait staff, an anonymous believer has launched a strategy to encourage biblical generosity. Its Instagram account displays the simple mission: "doing the Lord's work, one tip at a time." @TipsforJesus displays images of large tips left on restaurant checks alongside the explanation, "tips for Jesus." Believers across the country are responding.

One person left a server a $3,000 tip; others have left $5,000 and even $10,000 tips. Such generosity demonstrates the life-transforming reality of God's grace. What we have received, we must share.  When the culture refuses to come to the church, the church must go to the culture.

You and I live in a society that has abandoned "truth" for "opinion," believing Nietzsche's dictum, "There are no facts, only interpretations." People can dismiss our biblical convictions and theological assertions—but they have no defense against our generosity. The first "fruit of the Spirit" is "love" (Galatians 5:22). "If you have love for one another," Jesus promises, "by this all people will know that you are my disciples" (John 13:35).

Why is sacrificial generosity so persuasive? It is distinctively counter-cultural in a society that measures success by the accumulation of possessions. It speaks to the "higher angels" in us all—when we see someone performing a "random act of kindness" we know we should do the same.

And it reveals our true character. It's been said that "you can judge a person's character by the way he treats people who can't help him or hurt him." The CEO of a large corporation had an unusual hiring practice—whenever a prospective employee came for an interview, he always had the person wait in his outer office for 10 minutes. Then he asked his assistant how the person treated her. Those who were respectful and kind were the only people he hired.

Mother Teresa believed that "we can do no great things, only small things with great love." I believe that the two are synonymous. What "tip for Jesus" will you leave today?

Publication date: December, 9, 2013

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