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Chosen to Occupy

Rev. Tetteh-Annor Larbi | January 1, 2024 | Nehemiah 11:1-2


And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem. Nehemiah 11:2 (NKJV)



As we step into the New Year, we can draw inspiration from the rebuilding of Jerusalem led by Ezra and Nehemiah. Like the once-desolate city, the New Year beckons us to bring life and purpose to our journeys.

After years of desolation, the temple stands rebuilt, and the walls stand strong, but the city remains sparsely populated. To truly thrive, Jerusalem needs more than bricks and mortar – it needs people. This call to "occupy" resonates deeply with our journeys into a new year. We, too, have built walls – walls of routine, of comfort, of expectations. But to truly flourish, we must choose to occupy the space beyond these walls, to populate our lives with purpose, with passion, with a deeper connection to something bigger than ourselves. Just as the 10% of the people willingly chose to dwell in Jerusalem, we too face choices that require sacrifices. Moving forward may demand reordering our lives, leaving behind the familiar, and starting afresh. It may involve giving up comfort zones, much like the people relinquishing their lands and homes in their regions to move to Jerusalem.

Choosing to embrace the challenges of the New Year is akin to the decision to occupy Jerusalem. But just as the blessings rained down on those who chose Jerusalem, so too will we be showered with grace and fulfilment as we embrace the new year's call to occupy our purpose. We can do so by:

  • Identifying our Jerusalem: What is your calling, passion, and unique contribution to the world? Dedicate this year to uncovering, nurturing, and building upon it.

  • Be the 10%: Choose to be among the bold few who actively pursue their purpose, even when it seems daunting. Let your commitment be unwavering.

  • Welcoming new inhabitants: Open your life to new experiences, relationships, and knowledge. Let these diverse influences enrich your journey and expand your horizons.

As we embrace this mindset and endeavour to pursue it, let’s remember that the blessings may not always be instant, but they await those who dare to move, build, and occupy. Choose wisely, choose boldly.


This year let’s choose to occupy, with courage and passion, the spaces that await our presence. In doing so, we might just witness our own Jerusalem rise from the ashes, a testament to the transformative power of a single, brave choice. May our decisions to occupy new territories, face challenges, and embrace growth leads us to the blessings that come with establishing our kingdom in the days to come.


Dear Heavenly Father, please grant me the wisdom to make choices that align with Your purpose for my life. May my decisions be guided by Your light, and may I have the courage to leave behind the familiar and embrace the new. In the face of challenges, be my strength, and in moments of uncertainty, be my guide. Bless my journey as I choose to partner with you to build the kingdom. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.




DAILY word study: WILLINGLY In the original Hebrew, the word used is "natdáv" (נָתַן). It signifies not just giving, but giving freely, voluntarily, with a heart aligned with the action. It wasn't about compulsion; it was about a deeper motivation, a wellspring of a personal desire to contribute to something greater than oneself. This sentiment is echoed in other passages, such as Exodus 35:5, where the Israelites contributed willingly to the construction of the Tabernacle. In the context of Nehemiah, this term takes on a nuanced significance.

It signifies more than a mere physical relocation to Jerusalem. Instead, it conveys a deep, heartfelt commitment of the people to the city's restoration. Their decision to dwell in Jerusalem wasn't imposed upon them; rather, it was a choice made willingly. This reflects a broader biblical principle that emphasizes the importance of voluntary offerings and commitments to God's purposes.


This concept prompts us to reflect on our own lives. Are our contributions and commitments to our faith and community made out of obligation or willingness? Just as the people in Nehemiah's time chose to be in Jerusalem willingly, how willingly are we participating in the collective endeavours of our faith community? Consider the areas in your life where you can express a more voluntary and eager commitment.

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