Now the leaders of the people dwelt at Jerusalem; the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to dwell in Jerusalem, the holy city, and nine-tenths were to dwell in other cities. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.
The story in Nehemiah is about rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, to keep the city and the Israelites safe. These people had just built the walls, and now they needed to keep the city protected, by keeping a few people in the city. But who wants to be in this city? Basically, Jerusalem has a big red target painted on it for every other group to attack. So who would want to stay there to defend the target?
Thus, they cast lots. But some people offered to stay in the city. Why did they do that? They were sacrificing themselves for the better of the people. They did this, not from their own selfish desires, but for the well-being of the people.
So what can we take from this? Sometimes, we need to do the hard things, so that others don't have to face them. God asks some people to do certain jobs, because He knows that they can do it with His help, when others might not be able to.
In His Service,
Response Question: What's an example of sacrificing oneself for the betterment of others?