Character sketches that are fictional but based on real people, like you and me.
He couldn’t figure out why his mother had named him Uriah. It was a perfectly good biblical name, she explained. It even meant “God’s light”. But why did she have to name him after a guy too dense to figure out why he was being sacrificed in battle – unwilling to think that the king could have been fooling around with his wife. Early on he adopted the nickname of Ri. Maybe people would assume he was a Ryan.
He had been a busy kid, grown into a busy man. He liked being busy. It was more interesting than being idle. It was true, he had become more balanced, mainly due to his wife’s influence, but it still drove him crazy to sit and endure small talk. He would start to fidget and then excuse himself to leave and get something done.
There were ample excuses. He was always involved in three or four projects of his own, in addition to his role as mayor of his small town, his own business, and his family. Oh yes, and there was the church board, his elderly mother’s estate which he kept track of, and the condo association and property that he managed. He was always surprising people with his newest idea to improve, clean up, organize.
Many people are busy because of their desire to advance themselves, but undergirding Uriah’s constant motion was his generosity. He almost never met a person he didn’t want to help, if they needed it. He was aware of his own abundant blessings and felt that he should be distributing his energy, his time and his wealth wherever his faith directed. As a result, God was always dropping something or someone in his path for him to consider.
And then, unexpectedly, his wife got sick and died. It was a devastating, unthinkable blow. For a while it was even more necessary to keep busy. He tore through the house, every drawer, cupboard and closet to make sure he knew what was there and that it all had a purpose – for him, now that he was alone. And then a gradual apathy settled in. The urgency was gone and he was looking, not for energy, but for motivation.
He didn’t need money. His business almost ran itself. His two children were out of the house. He had not been in this stage of life before, and had not imagined being in it by himself. It called for some deep introspection and he decided to give himself some time. Time for others to speak into his life, and most certainly for God to direct him.
But as so often happens, God directs people according to their personalities and the talents they already have. Uriah was at the church for a meeting one night when childcare was being provided for couples with children. The girls managing the nursery decided to take the children outside to play. The small play yard, fenced and lighted, had an unusual structure with a slide built in it. It was a ship, representing Noah’s ark. One of the girls noticed that the chain had been cut on the locked gate. Someone had moved into the ark and set up housekeeping.
Homelessness was on the rise in Uriah’s small town and this was not the first time it had affected the church. But this time the situation was going to land on Uriah’s plate. God needed to act through an energetic, generous person. Uriah was about to become busy again. Very busy.