Saturday, October 18, 2014

Keep the Change

Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely,
who conducts his affairs with justice.

-- Psalm 112:5
It's both a newsroom cliché and a sign that there's still some good left in the world.

Every once in a while we come across one of those feel-good stories about a customer who leaves an overly-generous tip for their waiter or waitress. This past ChangeApril, for example, The Daily Mail reported that a diner in Clinton, NJ, added a $1,000 tip to his $80 tab because he heard that the server (a fellow dog-lover) faced a huge vet bill after her pet swallowed a ball. And just a few years ago, another newspaper claimed that billionaire Donald Trump left a $10,000 tip on his $82 meal tab. 

"How you treat your waiter or waitress reveals a lot about your character," explains The Donald. "So don't forget to leave a big tip."

He calls this principle his Waiter Rule.

Whether Donald Trump's alleged dinnertime exploits were true or just another urban legend, his Waiter Rule is real food for thought. And there's also biblical support behind it. As Christ-followers, our faith grows as we continue to learn God's ways for living in the world and changing it for His Kingdom. It turns out that generosity is one of those remarkable character traits that we should acquire and put into action along the way. And this is particularly relevant since we modern-day Americans are all so very rich--at least when compared to most of the world's population. According to recent data from the World Bank, about 2 billion people live on less than $2 a day!

This statistic should put our individual financial situations--bleak or otherwise--into perspective. Millions of Americans may be unemployed, on welfare or receiving food stamps, but that still reflects incredible wealth against the backdrop of the poverty found in Africa, India or even Mexico. So how should we "millionaires" respond to this reality?

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment," the Apostle Paul told his protégé, Timothy. "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share."

We can never out-give our Creator with our riches, even if our last name happens to be Trump. But we can positively impact our friends, neighbors and even total strangers through our generosity. It's a biblical Waiter Rule that not only brings joy to others, it brings joy to God.

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