Finances are an integral part of ministry. Local church finances are handled by a member of the congregation with business skills elected to the important responsibility of church treasurer.
The history of church treasurers goes back at least to 457 B.C. when Ezra appointed guardians for the funds given for the work in Jerusalem. To those given the care of the Lord’s goods Ezra commanded, “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” Ezra 8:28.
“The care exercised by Ezra in providing for the transportation and safety of the Lord’s treasure, teaches a lesson worthy of thoughtful study. Only those whose trustworthiness had been proved, were chosen; and they were instructed plainly regarding the responsibility resting on them. In the appointment of faithful officers to act as treasurers of the Lord’s goods, Ezra recognized the necessity and value of order and organization in connection with the work of God” (Prophets and Kings, page 617).
Jesus and His traveling band of disciples also had one designated to take charge of their funds. Jesus taught the importance of the proper management and integrity in the handling of monies. If it was important in the days of Ezra and of Christ to have someone to take care of church funds, it is essential today.
The work of the church treasurer is sometimes not recognized as a ministry because it is done behind the scenes. Nevertheless, it is a specialized, vital ministry in which the treasurer exercises his or her spiritual gifts. The whole congregation benefits indirectly from the work of the treasurer.
The role of church treasurer is a very important responsibility. As in every aspect of life, the treasurer is first of all an individual Christian who is responsible to God for every act and thought. The work should be given their best effort because it is God’s work. The time and efforts spent are an offering to God and nothing less than the best is appropriate.
When we think about the gifts of the Spirit we usually think of tongues, preaching, or prophecy; but Paul, in his list of the Spirit’s gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:28, names "administration" as a gift. Caring for finances is a time-consuming part of administration, so when Paul talks about the gift of administration, he has, among others, church treasurers in mind.
The treasurer’s job is vital; the whole church collapses if no one does it. If no one pays the electricity account, the power will be shut off. If no one pays the mortgage, the buildings will be lost. Giving money to God is a Christian’s duty, and someone must receive it for God. Hence the treasurer has a vital role to play.
Church treasurers are God’s appointed stewards of holy things that belong to God. All the financial and material resources that come into the coffers of the church belong to the Lord. Treasurers are then appointed by God, through the church members, to be custodians of those resources. Their responsibility is to receive, keep and disburse these resources for use as God, through the church, has directed. This work, like any other work of the Lord, should be done with great diligence, care and great reverence to the Lord. King David, being aware of this, counseled his son, Solomon, saying:
“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” 1Chronicles 28:9,10 NIV.
Treasurers are serving a perfect God. This, rightly understood, injects fear and some may be tempted to give excuses and not take up the task they are called to carry. But it is good to remember that one of the reasons God chose us as His instrument is to perfect us. Ellen G, White says:
“For the carrying of His work, Christ did not choose the learning or eloquence of the Jewish Sanhedrin or the power of Rome. Passing by the self-righteous Jewish teachers, the master worker chose humble, unlearned men to proclaim the truths that were to move the world. These men he purposed to train and educate as the leaders of His church. They in turn were to educate others and send them out with the gospel message.” AA 17
Treasurers should therefore aim at improving their skills by training frequently. By virtue of everyone being a steward, though not elected as Church treasurers, we are all treasurers of what belongs to God. This is a holy duty everyone has to do and no one can do this to full glory of God by themselves.
Thank God for His spirit that enables to do what we are unable to do as human beings. Upon this bed rock, we pray that God may continue to strengthen all of us as we continue to serve him in faithful stewardship and, above all, keep us in faith as we wait for the imminent coming of our Lord Christ Jesus.