A Stewardship Lesson from Long Ago

Something very remarkable happened under the leadership of Nehemiah. In short order the walls protecting Jerusalem were rebuilt and once again the returning exiles could live securely, worshipping in the newly restored temple.

Likely Nehemiah made several trips to Jerusalem from Susa in the Persian Empire some 2,500 years ago. On one such occasion he discovered his nemesis Tobiah had been solely appointed to care for “the vessels of the house of God” and other things. It is recorded that Nehemiah became angry with this arrangement and kicked Tobiah out of the chamber along with all his household furniture (Nehemiah 13:8).

Nehemiah then makes a striking move not to replace Tobiah with a person, but rather appoints four treasurers over the storehouses. What we call today assessing risk and implementing compensating controls to reduce the likelihood of any occurrences of failed stewardship was the very thing Nehemiah stridently implemented.

Next time I am invited to offer some thoughts on stewardship, I plan to offer some of the more dominant financial risks that smaller churches and nonprofits face. At the top of that list will be the over reliance on one person.

Bill McKnight, CPA
Presbytery Treasurer

Published by shenangopresby

The Presbytery of Shenango serves 49 churches in Mercer and Lawrence Counties of western Pennsylvania.

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