In Ezra 8:24-30 Ezra tells us that he took 12 of the priests who were with him in Babylon, and weighed out to each of them a portion of the gold & silver and the costly utensils which were going to the Temple in Jerusalem. In verse 29 he gave them a commission: “Watch and keep them until you weigh them before the leading priests, the Levites and the heads of the fathers’ households of Israel at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of The Lord.” Here we find an example of a precious stewardship.
Ezra was making the priests stewards of the precious utensils and metals for the Temple. These things were not their own, to do with as they would, but rather were entrusted to them for safe keeping on the journey — and they would give an account for them when they arrived at Jerusalem.
The stewardship Ezra gave to these priests should remind us of the many areas of stewardship which God has entrusted to us. We should be good stewards of the money He has chosen to funnel through us for His kingdom’s purposes, the children He has granted us to raise on His behalf, the gifts and talents and time He has granted us, etc. But there is perhaps no greater treasure He has given to us than the deposit of the truth of the faith as revealed in His word.
In II Timothy 1:14 Paul exhorts Timothy: “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” That “treasure” is something even more precious than the gold and silver which was entrusted to the priests by Ezra: it is “the standard of sound words” which Paul had just spoken of in :13; it is “the word of truth” he spoke of in 2:15, “the scriptures” of 3:16, and “the word” of 4:2.
The truth of the word of God, the gospel, is the most precious treasure with which any of us is entrusted, and like the priests of Ezra’s day, these truths are not ours to amend and change, or to barter away for personal gain. Like the other valuable things which God has entrusted into our care, they are a precious stewardship, for which we will, like the priests of Ezra’s day, one day stand and give an account.