The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has swept the world of social media like no other movement I have seen in recent years. Everybody is getting into the act including your neighbors, celebrities, athletes, politicians, and even former presidents. Now for those of you who have been living under a rock for the last month, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is where people dump buckets of ice water over their heads and challenge others to do the same while donating money to help find a cure for the deadly disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS, most commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. While being soaked to the bone with freezing cold water to raise awareness isn’t a new thing, this latest movement has rallied around a former collegiate baseball player, Pete Frates. Frates, a former baseball captain for Boston College, was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 (you can see a video of his story on my facebook page if we are friends). Now, there will always be speculation as to who actually got this ALS movement going, but that isn’t important in the grand scheme of things. The important thing is that it got a movement that to date has raised $79.7 million since July 29. During the same span last year, ALS raised $2.5 million- so we are talking about a significant impact.
But tonight, I’m not here to talk about the amazing things that this challenge has accomplished. I want to focus on how people are reacting to the challenge. It is this aspect that has truly been educating to watch and at times has been a little disheartening. I have seen the pictures of the precious little babies in third world countries with captions about clean drinking water. I have seen the posts talking about the countless other charitable organizations that go unnoticed. I have seen the posts about what ALS is “actually” funding in their research. And here is the ultimate kicker…you are all RIGHT!! In fact, the only posts that I have read that I don’t care for are the ones that simply say they are tired of seeing the ice buckets. Here is the thing, the people that suffer from ALS are not tired of it- and neither should any of us. You see, we are missing something very big here. We live in a world that constantly tells us to look after ourselves, to put our needs first, and to do anything and everything to get ahead. But, for the last month, we have been pouring buckets of water over our heads- common every day people & celebrities, democrats & republicans, and a great number of people who are usually on the opposing sides of issues. For one month this summer, we have come together as a collective, a community of people who, for a moment, have decided that the needs of others are more important than the needs of ourselves. And not just the ALS challenge. This movement has sparked interest in bringing clean water to foreign lands. If that is your thing and you don’t want to dump water on your head, then GREAT!!!! I challenge you to visit the Jars of Clay’s charity called Blood Water Mission. Where they organize trips to Africa to install wells of clean drinking water. If you are afraid to donate to ALS because they don’t disapprove of embryonic stem cell research, then GREAT!!! ALS has pointed its way to many charities that they endorse that do oppose it.
My point tonight is simple. I don’t care what your cause is. If you are a part of the ALS challenge like so many of have done, then let me applaud you on the efforts and strides made in not only raising awareness of ALS, but in raising a ton of money to help eradicate this awful disease. BUT, if you are standing behind a water mission, taking a stand against embryonic stem cell research, or any other cause- I also want to applaud you and encourage you to get our there and get after your cause. You see, when all of this is said and done, we will look back on this summer month in 2014 and we will see a community of people who selflessly put the needs of others in front of their own. And whether it’s ice buckets, wells in Africa, or some other cause- for the first time in a long time I look out and see the work of God Almighty being accomplished en masse. 1 John 3:17 says, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” For the last month, I have witnessed how God’s love has shown in a great many hearts. Let’s make His name famous….TOGETHER!!
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach
*Find out more information about ALS at http://www.alsa.org
*Find out more information on Blood Water Mission at http://www.bloodwater.org