I grew up in a house where we didn’t hold on too tightly to money. My parents’ faith taught me so much as I saw how they trusted God for provision. And provision wasn’t – or wasn’t only – money or a paycheck. Provision was also groceries left on our front steps or a car starting every day when it should have broken down or even a box of donuts brought to us when we all missed getting Dunkin’ Donuts on Saturday mornings. Things weren’t always that way but I love looking back to when we saw God tangibly provide exactly what we needed – down to boxes of donuts.
My practical education in trusting God to provide equipped with me something wonderful- freedom. I definitely don’t walk in complete faith or freedom but I also know I don’t have to worry or be bogged down by fear of money. I can trust instead that God’s perfect provision will come through with exactly what I need. It started with boxes of donuts but I’ve seen His hand in school, cars, houses, jobs and relationships.
So isn’t it a little strange that in the midst of all of that big, life-changing freedom, I still get caught up in the tiny every day lies?
As a server, I know I drive people crazy by talking a lot about tipping generously and graciously. I think it’s worth talking about because I truly believe Jesus wants to use us and the way we tip to tangibly bless people and show them His love. I also believe that for ourselves, God calls us to tip generously because He wants to redeem us from fear and stinginess and trying to provide for ourselves and all the other reasons we can be terrible tippers.
Most recently, I experienced the curse of stinginess at gas stations. Until my brother worked at a gas station I had no idea tipping was even a thing or that the guy who pumped my gas would have even an inkling of a hope of a tip. I mean, did you guys know that?! Not a clue.
Once I knew though… and realized how hard my brother worked and how often and consistently he was treated poorly by customers, it changed everything. When I went to the gas station I wanted that attendant to know that I appreciated their work, that I noticed them and they had value. But then, at the same time, a funny thing would happen. Fear would creep up the back of my neck and my thoughts would start racing – we only budget so much a week for gas so is this wise?!? Can we afford this?!? What if something happens and we need that money?!
Honestly, none of those are even rational thoughts in the context of a $3 tip but there they were anyway. Apparently, I can grasp that God will provide me with an entire car, but I still struggle to believe he has power over even a few dollars.
Until I remembered – I am blessed to be a blessing and my provision comes from God. Sure, that also includes living within my means and being a good steward but not the way Christians so often seem to use it as an excuse for greediness. I’m still left with miles of room to bless someone.
My brother doesn’t pump gas anymore but I still tip my attendant. I look forward to it because it’s exciting to have an opportunity to bless someone so tangibly. More than that – for my own sake I’ve realized it’s important to exercise generosity so that I don’t get rusty and forget where my provision really comes from.