Christians should always be a witness. Or maybe this could be rephrased – you’re always a witness -one way or the other.
Whether it’s in how you’re treating an animal (Proverbs 12:10), how you’re interacting with people (Luke 6:31), or how you care for the marginalized (James 1:27), there shouldn’t be a “downtime” in living out the Christian faith and following the words of Jesus.
This especially applies as we travel, dine out, shop or deal in public settings. With over 2 billion Christians around the globe, there should be plenty of witnessing going on in this regard.
I’ve been reading a book called Nickel and Dimed, a fascinating story of a writer who went undercover in various minimum wage jobs. One comment, among others, was that while serving in a restaurant, she often noticed the “people wearing cross necklaces or coming to eat a meal in a large group after a church service were often the worst customers, complaining the most and tipping the least.”
That’s not a good reputation. It shouldn’t be the case.
It made me think of some common things Christians should always do in these public settings:
Of course, be friendly and courteous, but also tip well. This especially applies when you bring in a large group. I remember someone telling me once that their church decided not to put the church name on the side of their vans so that they wouldn’t be tainted by any individual’s bad driving habits. This could be the same principle. If you’re not going to tip well, don’t wear a cross necklace, a church t-shirt or anything else that would give Christians everywhere a bad reputation.
Use First Names
Whenever possible, use first names for servers, housekeepers, front desk workers, pizza delivery people, cashiers, and others. Often they have a nametag and using their first name may be at first a little shock, but it’s important to realize they are humbly serving you as you travel, dine and shop. It brings people joy and encouragement and acknowledges that everyone is loved by God.
Thank Servers (Even Fast Food Servers)
There used to be a little bell hanging by the door in Long John Silvers and Arby’s. If you appreciated the service you’re supposed to ring the bell on the way out. After doing that a few times, I decided we might as well go up and thank the front line personally. Often we thank a waitress in a sit-down setting, but don’t thank the cashiers/servers in a fast-food environment. I decided to start going up and saying thanks to them as we leave! It’s interesting to see how they respond – sometimes it’s as if they don’t think they did anything. It’s good practice to thank those who serve you.
Thank Housekeeping & Other Staff
I always try to find the hotel housekeepers and let them know we appreciate them. We typically don’t get our room cleaned daily, we just connect personally with the housekeeping staff and replenish towels. I try to call them by their first name and say hi to all of them as we pass through the halls.
Another thing that may be more common is to take a Christmas gift to each of the front desk workers at our Post Office.
Send A Note
During the Harvest conference season, we order lots of pizza. Often, at the end of an event, I will send a letter to Little Ceasars or wherever we order, and thank them for such a big delivery. It’s not easy to make 100 pizzas before 11:45 am! I often wonder how many personal thank you notes pizza delivery teams receive?
Give A Break
Just like every one of us, people have bad days. Servers, staff and cashiers are no different. If something isn’t quite right, extend grace. I’m all for letting people know that something needs to be corrected, if that’s needed, but do it politely, genuinely and compassionately.
Christians should always be a witness in their actions and dealing with people.
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