on tithing and tipping

You hypocrites! You tithe from your luxuries and your spices, giving away a tenth of your mint, your dill, and your cumin. But you have ignored the essentials of the law: justice, mercy, faithfulness. It is practice of the latter that makes sense of the former. [Matthew 23:13 VOICE]

When I think about this passage I am reminded of a night out with Christian friends.
Six of us shared dinner at a restaurant where they automatically charged an 18% gratuity.
One of the guys in our group was very upset about the extra 3% tip and complained over dinner.

Like the Pharisees he was zeroed in on technicalities and was neglecting weightier matters.
He was focused on the legal percentages instead of blessing our waiter.
Such is the path of those who are more concerned with the letter, than the spirit, of a matter.

A fixation on religious legalities will cause a person to miss the point of faith.
If faith does not cause you to be more just ... more merciful ... more faithful ... and more loving ... then then there is something wrong with your faith.
Genuine faith causes one go past what they owe God.
Authentic spirituality leads one to live a more generous life.
Real faith is not focused on tipping or tithing percentages.

Take my eyes off the percentages Lord and help me to lead a life of generosity today.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.


  1. We occasionally use discounted gift certificates that we bought at restaurant.com. They require you to buy a certain amount and they also put an 18% gratuity on the bill. I always add in an extra 2%. Your friend would have loved that!

  2. It is so easy to get caught up in the technicalities, (especially money technicalities) and miss the real point. Thanks for the post.


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