Recently I saw the movie, I AM NUMBER FOUR. It was a movie about some gifted kids that were being hunted down by some really bad guys. The interesting thing is that the title triggered a whole new world of thought—probably a tangent from what the producer of the film thought he would. My thought centered around this phrase: I AM NUMBER THREE. In my childhood, my mother would communicate the values she wanted us to inculcate into our everyday life into little acronyms and catch-phrases. One of which was J.O.Y.. She taught us that the secret of joy was living a life that centered on this principle and in this order:
J-Jesus, O-Others, Y-Yourself
Joy, according to her, was derived from placing God and everybody else ahead of ourselves. What I call ‘Living Beyond Yourself’. Any distortion of this order of priorities was going to lead to anything but joy.
These days, it is increasingly difficult to live by selfless principles. We live in a world where we are taken for granted because we are kind. People will ask for your last dollar because you gave it up the last time. We live in a society where you are considered a fool because you are courteous enough to hold the door for others or vacate your sit for an older person. We inhabit a world where people ask you for your only meal because you offered to share yesterday. We are increasingly forced to live a selfish life because of the negative experiences our kindness and generosity provokes. We live in communities that embody the phrase “I’m gonna do me.” But would we stop being kind just because we are not appreciated? No!
When was the last time you gave up something you considered legitimately yours? When was the last time you opted out of your right for the next person? When was the last time you used the greater number of the hours of your day for something other than personal gain.
Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life's deepest joy: true fulfillment. - Tony Robbins
I watched an episode of Royal Pains some days ago. This episode featured a man who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis ( a really terrible disease) when he was 19. Let’s call him Mr. Charles, and he is 49 years old now. He said that from the first summer after his diagnosis, he had held campaigns and fundraisers to solicit support for people living with MS. Mr. Charles gave the money donated to societies who dealt with individuals suffering from MS. The get-together in this scene was a platform to garner support for the patients. He shared his working slogan, “Your disease is not you!”
To have joy one must share… - Lord Byron
Towards the end of the episode, a new doctor took a look at his medical notes and realized that Charles may not have been diagnosed right. He obtained permission from a very reluctant Mr. Charles for new blood tests. The new doctor was right and it was confirmed he had been suffering from Lyme’s disease all this while ( another terrible disease).
Now this would devastated anyone, but I was blown away by Mr. Charles’ response. He immediately floated an organization for people suffering from his new disease and went on to study it. This is living beyond yourself!
There's a great joy in my giving. It's thrilling. It's exhilarating. It's important to be a part of sharing. It is my love. It is my joy. - W. Clement Stone
I Am Number Three
My mission today is very simple. It can be wrapped up in our little phrase: I AM NUMBER THREE. When that impulsion to be selfish begins to creep up on you and remind you that you will not be appreciated, but taken for granted. Just recant these words: ‘I AM NUMBER THREE’.
‘I AM NUMBER THREE’ says I am willing to give up my rights because I care about God and my neighbors.
‘I AM NUMBER THREE’ says I might lose out now, but I will gain joy and much more in the future.
‘I AM NUMBER THREE’ says I willingly let God handle what my portion will be.
I don’t mean you should give all you have foolishly. No. There is a need for the application of enormous amounts of wisdom. But I implore you to have a heart that is sensitive to the needs of the people around you.
By opening up and sharing our lives with people—living beyond ourselves—we lead people to God. Cults and other societies employ this strategy. It is high time the church employed its code.
By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (The Message)
Today, I leave you with the secret to a living full of JOY! It is wrapped up in a four-letter phrase:
I AM NUMBER THREE!