I was tackling some work at a coffee house when a couple of guys came in lugging sound equipment. A stampede of people followed. Before long, the coffee house was so full that I had three strangers sharing my table. I stayed huddled at my end for most of the evening, though I occasionally took out my earbuds and enjoyed the music.
A gospel group was playing, except they weren’t playing gospel songs. I only knew they were a gospel group because the lead singer kept telling us, and I wasn’t sure why. Perhaps she was trying to tells us she was besties with Jesus, without actually saying it out loud.
Throughout the evening, she reminded us that the coffee house did not promote any specific religion, which made me wonder why she kept promoting hers.
The night concluded with an altar call. Yes, the lead singer pulled the classic “meet me in the corner if you want to know more about Jesus” move. Needless to say, no one met her in the corner.
An hour later, the coffee house was closing. A woman and a young girl were sitting at the bar while the lead barista began shutting down the register. I could hear snippets of the conversation, but wasn’t really listening until one phrase made my ears perk up.
“People who love God don’t tip us.”
My heart sank the moment I heard the woman explain this to the young girl.
“Yeah, it’s whatever.” the barista replied.
As I was leaving, I told the barista that I had overheard this conversation and that it bothered me. I told him that I was a Christian, and that I thought we should be the most generous people in town. I then reached into my wallet and pulled out a bill. He just stared at me as I held it out to him.
“That’s okay, man; you don’t have to do that.”
“No, I want to,” I said, still holding out the bill.
After he declined my offer a few times, I left the money on the counter and quickly vanished. I sat in my car, reflecting on what had just taken place. He hadn’t rejected my offer because he was too proud, but because he was genuinely okay with what had happened; it didn’t bother him as much as it bothered me. I sometimes think that people who aren’t Christians will instantly fall to their knees at my acts of kindness, but what if that isn’t the point? What if the point is simply to be kind, to love without an agenda?
I’m still working on that one.