Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sue decides to quit

But all these worketh that one and the very selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. I Cor.12:11

Sue entered the Oak Street Bible Shop late that day. Joy was about to call to see if anything was wrong, when Sue hurried through the front door, obviously upset. To the amazement of us all she was not wearing one of her long dresses with the elaborate frills and patterns, but instead had on a rather old fashioned woman’s suit of an indeterminate color, a reddish orange shade that did not become her.

She was visibly upset, on the verge of tears. We all waited for some kind of explanation. Sue looked at Joy when she spoke. "I'm sorry I'm late, really. I was trying to make up my mind what to do and what to wear. I won't lie to you. I have decided to look for another job and that's why I'm wearing this thing" she touched the jacket. It was Mother's and I guess it looks awful, but I thought I would make a better impression for my job interview."

Joy was so stunned that she was speechless for a moment, taking this all in. "I don't know what to say" was all she could muster. "Look, if it's your salary, you know I can't afford to pay anyone what they are worth. Dave and I barely break even. We couldn't even operate the shop if he didn't have a good job. We consider the store as a ministry."

Sue dipped her head as she spoke, "Oh, no, Joy. It's not money. Actually I think you pay me more than what I'm worth, considering how little I contribute around here."

This statement was too much for Joy. Although she was not know for her compassion, or gentle spirit, Sue's humility and evident misery were too much for her to bear without speaking. "Sue", she began, "You do contribute a lot every day you are here. There are people who only want to talk to you. You are so kind and approachable, they go right to you when they want advice on books. I know I can be offsetting to people. Dave tells me to ease up, but I guess it's not my nature. I go after what I consider is false doctrine and I promote what I believe is true and in the process I trample peoples' feelings underfoot."

Gary chimed in, "I need to confess I feel a little distanced from customers sometimes. I heard someone say I was like a computer, efficient, but cold. I guess it's how I was brought up."

Sue looked at both of them before she replied. "I appreciate what you are both doing, trying to make me feel better, I really do. But we all know I just don't have the knowledge either of you have. Who would ever ask me about a Bible doctrine or which Bible to buy? I make mistakes in figuring things out, it takes me forever to use the cash register. Gary is so fast and efficient.." Like a computer" he broke in", that I feel bad when I do it."

"And Joy, you really know doctrine, you know you do. You've spent years just on the tongues movement and healing, just to name two things. What do I know?"

"I should have said something to you a long time ago." said Joy, with genuine sorrow in her voice. "If you were not of value, I would have let you go a long time ago. I get so involved with details of running this place, I forget the people who make it work."

"Where are you going to apply, if you don't mind my asking?" "The fabric shop", said Sue softly. "They have a sign in their window for help and I love to work with fabric as you know. I was going to apply on my lunch break, but now I'm not so sure."
"Please don't leave us Sue", was all Joy could say. Sue began to cry. Glen, across the room looked at her with undisguised love in his eyes. If circumstances had been different he would have held her in his arms to comfort her.

Sue, with tears in her eyes, touched her jacket's lapel. "Isn't this color awful? I look like a sweet potato". she tried to laugh through her tears. "You know, the Bible says we all have gifts of the Holy Spirit. But what is mine? I never knew."

Outside an older model car pulled to the curb. A woman got out and lifted a little girl out of the back seat. She left the car door only partly closed and hurried up the steps. She burst into the room. " I really hate to do this, but could I leave Marcia here for just a little while? She's very quiet and you could let her read at the table in the other room. I'll buy a book, if you want."

"No need for that" said Joy with concern on her face. "Do you have an

"You could call it that. I found a lump and called my husband at work. He told me to get to the hospital for an exam."I can't take Marcia along and I don't know what to do." The distraught woman spoke with such tension in her voice that both Gary and Joy wanted to help her in any way they could. "We'll all pray for you." said Gary. "Yes, said Joy. "You go ahead, Marcia will be fine with us".

The little girl looked up at Sue, trustingly. She took Sue's hand and they walked to the little table by the coffee urn. Sue took off her jacket before she sat down. She was wearing a silk blouse with an antique brooch pinned below the collar..

She took down a big book with an illustration on the cover of a shepherd holding a very young lamb in his arms. It bore the title Bible Babies. Sue leafed through the stories and lay the book flat on the table. Before she began to read, she asked Marcia "Do you know who this is?” Marcia placed her hand on the page and looked up at Sue. "Moses!" she said. Sue smiled at her answer and began to read in a sweet gentle voice. Glen watched them from the front room.

"Sue's gift is herself", he said.

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