I am very much enjoying my reading of Proverbs along with a group of God’s people. God’s Word is interesting, thought provoking, and profitable. Proverbs 20:5-7 asks a very interesting question, “The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find? The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.” (NIV)
All of us have purposes and motivations hidden deep within us, or at least we think and hope that they are hidden deep within us. It seems to me that those purposes and motivations are not deep in the sense that they are profound, complex, or difficult to understand. Rather, they are simply buried beneath an exterior we have constructed to conceal the depravity of our own hearts. We made that exterior to hide our real self from the rest of the world and to some extent ourselves. Verse 5 indicates that a man of understanding can certainly see through that false front.
A little observation and discernment usually sees right through our attempts to hide our real motivations.
Verse 6 is certainly revealing and painful to the vast majority of us. Many (or most as some translations have it) of us, claim to have unfailing love for our Savior but our calendars, our checkbooks, our entertainment choices, our lack of service and evangelism, etc. expose us. I am particularly appalled by my own failure to spend a reasonable amount of time quietly sitting before the Lord. You will personally have to discern your own particular issue where you are missing the mark. I’ve got my own areas of need to look after. The question, “..…but a faithful man, who can find?” is a haunting one. Ouch! They must be few and far between.
We have taken a quick glance at our individual relationship with the Lord, but what about our corporate relationship with Him? I come into contact, day after day after day, with people who say, “Sure I believe in God”; “Oh, yes, I’m a Christian”; “The Good Lord is taking care of me”; “Yes, I’m saved and a child of God”; and the list of self proclamations goes on and on. Much to my dismay, and I assume to the Lord’s dismay, many if not most of the aforementioned individuals have a spotty at best church attendance record. The reasons (excuses) for not meeting regularly to worship the Lord with brothers and sisters in Christ are numerous and almost always trivial. Certainly the oxen stumble into the ditch from time to time, but a man of understanding can easily see that often the oxen are led into the ditch. We have not even mentioned the subject of lack of Christian service that always accompanies poor attendance. Verse 6 says, “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?” Oh, dear God, where are the faithful men? Send us laborers for the harvest.
Take the time to ask your pastor if there is a shortage of faithful men and women. Ask him if the faithful in your church are being overworked to the extreme because of the failure of the faithless to serve. Ask him where you fit in. Ask the Lord those same questions. Do not be offended by their answers. “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?” God is looking for faithful men and women. Shall we do our best to be able to answer, “Right here”?