Being More Responsible
Then I (Ezra) separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them, 25 And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel there present, had offered: 26 I even weighed unto their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels an hundred talents, and of gold an hundred talents; 27 Also twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold. 28 And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the LORD; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers. 29 Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them before the chief of the priests and the Levites, and chief of the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the LORD. 30 So took the priests and the Levites the weight of the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem unto the house of our God.
It had been a long time since anything good was happening in Israel and in Jerusalem in particular. In fact, 70 years. The people of Israel were in captivity and were displaced in Babylon for 70 years. The Temple had been destroyed. The people in Jerusalem were discouraged and in despair. The Lord calls Ezra, and Old Testament Jewish priest, who was living in Babylon at the time to lead a group of people back to erect the Temple (along with many others) to worship God once again. I like Ezra. He was a man with initiative to obey the Lord. “Can’t” was not in his vocabulary.
The book of Ezra gives a firsthand account of the people, leaders, decisions, and the thought process of the Jews as they follow the Lord’s leading to go home and restore the Temple and rebuild Jerusalem. Ezra rounds up all the men with Levitical heritage in chapter 8 and encourages them to serve as priests once again. He then assigns 12 of the “Chief men” who were also priests to be responsible for carrying the large sum of money to site of the temple. These men along with Ezra were being looked to for leadership. People were counting on them to come through. This was a BIG deal.
Notice Ezra’s charge to these men in the passage above. Watch ye, keep them, until ye weigh them before the chief of the priests…. In Israel. These men were about to set out with large sums of money in their possession. Just like today, the prospects of thieves, attacks, and being taken advantage of are real. These men stepped up to the task and accepted personal responsibility for the job at hand. As I read this passage it prompted me to ask several questions of myself that I will ask you:
- Would I have been deemed responsible enough to serve and lead by delivering the money? Why or why not?
- Would I have been willing to make this dangerous journey, guarding the money and ensuring it arrived safely at the building site?
- Would the rebuilding of the Temple have been a major concern and priority for me and my family? These men were also carrying money that they have given expressly for the building project of the rebuilt Temple.
- Would I have been interested and 100 percent invested in the work of God, like these men? Would I be doing my part? Or would I be hoping others would make up for my disinterest/unwillingness to do my part?
What is your answers to these questions? These men did not make excuses or shrink from their duties. Just like back then, there is lots to do in church ministry. While Wilton Baptist Church (and your church) is not going to build the Temple in Jerusalem, perhaps you, like us, are building a new facility in your place of ministry. Currently, we are saving up money for the “Family Life Center,” a building dedicated to evangelism and Christian edification to serve our region with the Gospel. You and I both – should do our part to see this happen for God’s glory – today.
Ask yourself the same questions and make it practical for today. Our era. Our project. The work of God in our lives. Are you waiting for others to fulfill their responsibility or will you step out by faith like Ezra and do what God has called you to do? Are you and I being responsible to undertake and fulfill the calling God has placed on our lives?
I hope so. Just like Ezra – other people are counting on you. Dedicate yourself to being more responsible to fulfill God’s calling on your life – in your home, church, and community. Ask for God to help you start – today.