The Practical Side: Eating Out

from Issue #1, April 2016, page # 30

by: Need Food

Three of us brethren were on a business trip away from home. On Friday evening we needed a place to eat. A large selection of restaurants and food places on one street invited us in. Which one should we choose?

We pulled in at one restaurant, but the parking lot was full and a long line of people stood waiting to be served. We decided to move on and settled on Applebee’s. None of us had eaten at that one before and we thought it worthy of a taste test.

This place was also full, but we were soon seated on high stools close to the bar where drinks were being served. The lights were none too bright and directly in front of us was a large TV screen showing a basketball game with partially clad men and accompanying commercials. Much noise and music made it difficult to visit with one another or talk on our cell phones while we waited; it was an atmosphere in which I felt uncomfortable.

When the waitress brought us the menus, we studied them carefully. It appeared that the average dinner plate cost $12-$15. Adding on the expected tip, our bill would probably top $50 for the three of us. This was a larger amount then we wanted to pay for food that evening.

Practical Questions: 

Considering the uncomfortable atmosphere and unexpected cost, what should we have done?

  1. Quietly exit and find another eating place.
  2. Order a cheaper menu and forego the tip, thereby saving money.
  3. Order a better menu and tip extra to show we’re not stingy.
  4. Pass out gospel tracts while we waited.
  5. Remain and tell all our friends never to eat at Applebee’s

4 thoughts on “The Practical Side: Eating Out

  • June 26, 2016 at 5:33 am

    Of the answers given ,#1 would appear to be the best.I believe a better answer would be,to look a little more closely at the exterior signs. Do they advertise alcoholic drinks,tv,etc. Remember, even though your children or grandchildren were not with you, in a deeper sense they were.

  • October 10, 2016 at 8:34 am

    I personally would have drawn issue and asked to me relocated from the bar, as this provides a negative witness to those around, especially if you are externally separate and easily identified as Anabaptist or Christian. This request would have been honored and can easily be done nicely.

    That said, because of the situation, the money issue I would have passed over, it is my opinion that the witness of a separate godly group/family amongst the world as you were in, especially if traveling with a Sister with a covering and or plain/modest dress, is a much needed ray of Light amongst darkness. I simply see every opportunity as one to Glorify God and HIs Kingdom. However, I do have lines I draw, I would not enter an actual bar or night club, nor other immoral areas such as the restaurant Hooters, or adult clubs, etc.

    Just last night I challenged my Brothers in the church to instead of just shopping etc in “Mennonite” areas, go into the city where there is no Godly modest witness. I find this has strengthened and encouraged my wife who bares the most for external holiness (covering and dress), to meet people and have people come up to us and discuss things, it is a great encouragement and gets us out of our little “Mennonite life”…

    As to forgoing the tip, this is an abomination, waitresses and waiters make something like $2.50 an hour plus tips, not leaving a good tip IMO (atleast 15% or more) will cause grief and frustration and will most likely be a very bad witness for Christ if they know your Christian.

    I personally would choose none of the options, and instead be content with all things, showing kindness and love towards those serving you, leave a good tip and leave happy and thankful leaving a true witness for Christ in all things. Count it a blessing and challenge to have the opportunity to share Christ amongst the world.

    • January 8, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      I agree with your observation that the type of tip Christians give leave an impression on others. I saw a youtube video of a pizza delivery driver who was given an excessively generous tip by a church and was moved to tears over it. I am confident that driver attended that church at least once after receiving such a tip. I also like the idea of leaving an excessively generous tip with a Bible tract or invitation to church. It makes me think of Luke 16:9 and how we should use our money to win people to Christ.

  • January 18, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    I would have chosen the first option, but before you leave, you need to hand out tracts to the waitresses. We need to avoid occasions of sin. In fact I ate at Applebee’s one time in Moultrie, Georgia, and I didn’t enjoy it because the music was a little loud. So, I don’t want to go back to it. I’m not a Mennonite now and would like to go back to the Meigs Mennonite Church. I’ve been having problems deciding which church to attend for the rest of my life.


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