“Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: There is nobody to make them Christians.” – St. Francis Xavier
Wow! St. Francis Xavier is sure putting the proverbial ball in our court. This incredible missionary brought thousands of people to Christ, and he wants us to follow in his footsteps.
Today, the Cincinnati university bearing Francis’ name has fans doing just that. What’s now being called the Crosstown Tipping War started in January when a compassionate family, understanding the plight of COVID-19 on restaurant workers, left a $1,000 tip at a café. A note written on a napkin said simply: “Please share this tip with all of your employees as they work so hard and are dealing with COVID. Go Xavier!”
Xavier and the University of Cincinnati have a crosstown rivalry in basketball, and this tip inspired UC fans to up the ante and leave a $1,001 tip at a different restaurant.
This started a flurry of “tip wars” that has the volley going back and forth between Xavier and UC fans and that has resulted in many thrilled restaurant workers throughout the Cincinnati area. Next, there was a $1002 tip (Xavier), then a $1005 tip (UC), a $1006 tip (UC), a $1007 tip (Xavier), a $1,008 tip (UC), and a $1010 tip (Xavier). And then someone blew open a huge lead for Xavier by leaving a $1,200 tip. Not long after that, just this past Monday, someone left a $1,500 tip saying he/she was a fan of both teams. And the latest was on Feb 2, when someone left a $1,500 tip and a note that said “Go X!”
God is so good! And He works His goodness on earth through the kindness and generosity of His children.
This amazing story shows us the love and compassion that people feel toward their fellow human beings. This is just one city, but love and compassion are everywhere! The media may focus on the bad, but as Christians, we must focus on the good. We must do good. It is these good works that will bring us and others closer to Christ.
As we see in this crosstown competition, the generosity of strangers can spur people to action! That’s because kindness and generosity have a ripple effect. Isn’t that what St. Francis meant when he called us to make Christians?
During times like the ones we’re facing because of the pandemic, generosity and goodness can make dramatic changes in people’s lives. Not only that, but they give hope—hope for better times, hope for humanity, hope that someday they can pay the generosity forward, and hope in our Lord.
We desperately need this today!
The story of this “tip war” energizes us. In it, we find ourselves getting wrapped up in the joy of giving. In fact, I’m sure many who read the stories thought “I wish I could do that.” I know I did!
We must cling to the inspiration we feel when we read of the goodness of mankind. Then we must translate it to our own lives. Obviously not all of us can leave enormous tips, but we can all give gifts—of our time or our material possessions—to help build a culture of life here on earth. This culture of life will bring Christ to those who may not know Him or who may have forgotten Him.
The things we do for and say to others, the actions we take, and the example we live should always reflect the light of Christ. So don’t despair that you can’t leave a massive tip. Good works need not be grand gestures. Even small things make a huge difference.
As we think about what we should do for others, let us contemplate St. Francis’ words and seek the help of God:
Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: “What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!”
I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books, and so settle their account with God for their learning and the talents entrusted to them. This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves over entirely to God’s will and his choice. They would cry out with all their heart: Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do?
Those powerful words should resonate with us as we think about the reason we were put on this earth. So, let us not forget to ask every day: “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
In thousands of ways, we can be the conduit that will lead others to Christ. Get creative. The ball is in your court.