The Slow Burn

“How do they expect me to manage this store right when I have such poor help?” Gil Black muttered, as he checked the canned corn and found every price mark only an ink smudge. He ought to tell that stock boy a thing or two! But he wouldn’t chew him out. Gil Black never brought anyone up short.

“I value my Christian testimony too highly to tell people off,” he once told a friend.

From another post near the frozen foods he watched Ethel, his problem checker. Ethel’s customer relations were good, but she could never balance her money drawer. He really ought to take her away from cash handling, but then she’d resent being transferred.

He didn’t quite get to frozen foods before the head of the baked-goods department stopped him. ”We’re over on bread, Gil,” the fellow said. “‘We’ll have to cut to half price to sell it out before closing.”

Black wondered how a man could be so dumb about gauging the needs of his department.

Everyone at the store thought Gil Black was a very nice man to work for, but a slow burn was going on inside him. He never found fault; he simply swallowed his discontent.

But what was this bottled-up resentment doing to him? At home, he was crabby; he lashed out at his family in even the smallest matters.

“Why am I so nice to people at the store and so mean to my family?” he asked me.

Was he being nice to his employees by not addressing their mistakes? He concealed his anger at the store, but like an overloaded steam boiler, he blew his top at home.

“You’re a Christian,” I said. “You need to learn the meaning of 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

”Why not be just as gracious as you appear to be?” I asked.

He had never thought of it that way. In Christ, grace was available for him to meet every situation honestly and graciously. Now Gil no longer swallows his anger and makes his family suffer for it. Instead, in a gracious manner that stems from a duly gracious spirit, which he sought and received from God, he lets people know what he expects of them. He now runs his store with a firmness that has increased his stature as a manager and a Christian.


The names and certain details in this true case history have been changed to protect each person’s identity and privacy.