Ezra had money problems: he had too much. He also needed to travel a great distance–four months from Babylon to Jerusalem–which exposed him to theft. He trusted God for protection, but he also took diligent steps to minimize his risks. Ezra divided the treasures among 12 priests and said:
“Guard them carefully until you weigh them out in the chambers of the house of the Lord in Jerusalem before the leading priests and the Levites and the family heads of Israel.” (Ezra 8:29)
Essentially, Ezra said, “Hold on to this stuff, because we’re going to count it all when we get to Jerusalem.” God graciously protected the travelers from thieves, and the 12 people were faithful in their stewardship. Once they got to Jerusalem, Ezra writes:
“Everything was accounted for by number and weight, and the entire weight was recorded at that time.” (Ezra 8:34)
The newly rebuilt temple was dedicated to the Lord, paid for by the money Ezra bought. Good times. This part of the story was great (spoiler alert: the next part, not so much).
In our lives, we have accountability for everything but the most important things. We are accountable to our parents (for their rules), teachers (for their assignments), and bosses (for our work). When we drive, we’re accountable to the law and those hidden cops who are keeping the highways safe. Society has built in accountability…for the little things.
But we’re not accountable for the big things. I’m talking about the conditions of our heart: our motives, fantasies, and desires. This kind of accountability has to be chosen, and it’s easy to ignore and fake.
Accountability makes us stronger. Eventually we’ll be held accountable to God. But for the current chapter of our lives, we get to choose it.