I like a good meal out with my wife, my kids, or friends. You probably do as well. And I have had my fair share of good experiences and bad experiences at restaurants. I am sure you understand.
But whether you have a good or bad experience at a restaurant, you can still be generous. You can be generous to others (even if you feel it is undeserving) because God has been so generous to you.
Let’s look at six ways to live generously at a restaurant:
- Pray for your server. If you are bold enough, ask your server if there is anything you can pray for him or her. I am always amazed at how many servers open up and provide a prayer request. But even if you do not do this, spend a moment in prayer for your server. Pray for their faith, their family, and their work. It is a great way to see them for who they are, a God-designed, God-loved human being, and not just someone who is there to meet your every need.
- Say “please” and “thank you.” We teach our kids the importance of politeness and respect for others. A restaurant is a great place to practice what we preach. Be generous with your words and attitude by simply being polite.
- Comfort the couple with the cranky baby. Believe it our not, the crying is stressing them out more than you. They can feel the glaring eyes around them. But they don’t get to go out that often. So you can choose to either make their day worse or better. You can continue to glare and mumble condescending remarks or you can be generous. You can put yourself in their shoes, try to understand their situation, and smile. Be generous with your response to them. Choose to be comforting instead of condescending.
- Tip well. I know that some of you will think I am crazy for this, but I always tip at least 20%. That is my minimum, even when my experience is not great. I worked in a restaurant for a few years in high school. During that time, I learned two things: Restaurant work is hard, and most people who work in restaurants are not well off. It hurt me to see a server, who typically shares a portion of the tip with a busser, given barely anything for their work. So I try to err on the side of generosity because many will err on the side stinginess.
- Show grace. Your restaurant experience is not going to be perfect. You are going to wait longer than you desire. Your food is not going to taste as good as you imagined. And you are not going to get the amount of attention you want from your server. When inevitable shortcomings arise, show grace. You can point out an incorrect side item without being a jerk. Be grateful for what you have and grace-filled to those who serve you.
- Consider others first. Points 1 through 5 would be accomplished if this takes place. Treat everyone else like you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. If you do this, you will live generously at the restaurant.
God has designed us to be conduits through which His generosity flows. This is true even when we are at restaurants. When you consider others first, generosity will be the outcome.