I was 8 years old when I first heard the "I'm Third" motto at summer camp. This simple idea revolutionized my life. They told me to put "God first, others second and yourself third."
At first my instinct was to push back. I thought, that means I'll be last! But this isn't true. Nobody is last if everyone is third. While I might put others ahead of myself, they put me ahead of themselves and we all end up second.
Once my cabinmates and I had fully accepted this idea, we sought to live third in lots of little ways. We all wanted to do the jobs where we could serve others. We wanted to set the table or clear the dishes at a meal. We wanted to feed the pigs in the minibarn or help collect the stray balls after tennis clinic. We were putting this idea of being third into practice.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul tells us to "do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves."
If a group of 8 year old boys can understand this concept, surely so can we. We must prioritize our lives so that God is first. God must be the center, must be the priority and we must learn to live in such a way that God and His Kingdom are not an afterthought; but our deepest desire.
Then we must put others next. We must humble ourselves so that our naturally born selfishness is starved out and our inner compassion is brought forward.
Finally, we are third. You may also push back and worry that this means you, and your desires will be last; but this isn't true. God loves you deeply and has already shown his great love to you countless times. Others, especially in our church community, care for you and will work to help you if you let them.
I pray you will learn to live third. It changed my life.