In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.(Matthew 5:48, The Message)
"A Christian can afford to be generous."
The words have remained with me for almost forty years, ever since our supervising pastor spoke them to me during a summer church plant project. After we ate a restaurant, he must have left a tip that struck me as excessive. I commented on it.
His answer? "A Christian can afford to be generous." I have tried to adapt his principle.
Unfortunately, Christians tend to practice frugality and no generosity at the restaurant. My son, who worked at restaurants for ten years, said that the after-church crowd was their busiest time of the week. They also left the smallest tips.
When I learned that, my heart sank. What kind of testimony is our corporate stinginess on Sundays?
Grow up. Be generous, with money, but also with words. Compliment total strangers. Leave a comment when you enjoy a book. Thank the bus driver.
Be gracious--the word itself would take a lengthy study, and this isn't the day to look at forgiveness and other such things.
God gives to us graciously. He treats us graciously. In turn, He expects us to pay it forward--to treat others with the same life-affirming, esteem-boosting, care that He treats us.
Of course generous and gracious living involves a lot more than tipping servers. But it's a good place to start.