It's not a secret, and it's not a small deal. We talked about it on the show, yesterday: Church folk are rotten tippers.
It's not "church-bashing", it's reality, and it's confirmed by listeners to the show who are churchgoers, themselves, and waiters, and who wind up apologizing to their coworkers for their fellow Christians. "Oh no...here come the Jesus people..." -- they actually hear this.
It's mind-boggling, and here's why:
1) We're being served, people.
Jesus, whom we presumably worship and seek to emulate, is s Servant to servants. And make no mistake, when you go take yourself out to a restaurant, you are hiring servants for yourself. Previously, in human history, this was something only royalty could dream of, actually HIRING people to find and prepare your food, and bring it to you, responding to your wishes.
If you suspect you are owed this, that this is a right and normal order of things, having other humans wait on you, you haven't quite "gotten" this Kingdom thing yet.
2) We're supposed to be the generous ones.
And, in fact, church-folk, particularly conservative, Bible-belt people, ARE more generous than others, and not to just to church-related causes. (See the book Who Really Cares, by Arthur Brooks) But that generosity, for whatever reason, hasn't extended to the very people in front of them, working for a living.
We're the ones who believe, presumably, our security doesn't come from money, and that we're given money to bless others with it. So here's a golden opportunity.
3) People somehow still think it's "better" to give wait staff a tract, because "giving them Jesus is so much more valuable than giving money."
Fine, give them a tract, if you feel compelled... next to a hundred-dollar bill. I'm serious. A "Jesus" that doesn't demand sacrifice, isn't radically and joyfully loving, and rewards service with propaganda isn't a Jesus many will be attracted to. Sorry. Plus, he doesn't actually exist.
4) It's great practice.
Being radically generous in everyday situations merely breeds more generosity. I love what Dallas Willard says: "What you believe isn't what you SAY you believe, it's what you actually do."
5) A generous heart isn't all about "tithing"
I actually heard this, more than once: "Why would I give a waitress 15% when I give God 10%?" Seriously.
Nevermind that you give yourself, apparently, 90%, by this calculation, and that you just took yourself out to dinner, to be served hand-and-foot by, perhaps, a single mom trying to put food on her own table.
(Funny/sad: A mom and waitress calls in yesterday, saying she gets the occasional tract-instead-of-a-tip. "I'm a Christian -- I'm actually hoping for some money for my labor.")
Tithing, in the OT, takes various forms, and adds up to more than 30% of agricultural crops. In the New Testament, church-folks should know, it's quite clear: God owns 100% of your money. Enjoy being radically, freely, cheerfully generous with it.
See if God lets you go bankrupt.
6) Wouldn't it be kinda awesome if Jesus-lovers were the crazy-generous tippers, the ones who most rewarded hard work, the ones who were the servants of servants...?
I say we do it. Perhaps, someday, the servants near the kitchen actually say "Sweet...here come the Jesus people..."