Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. And in case you’ve been in a cave in Afghanistan (some have) for the past few weeks, the internet has been all abuzz with people challenging each other to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. And while several individuals have been named, it is almost impossible to credit a single person with its origin. The goal is to raise awareness and money to fight ALS. The fact that you’re reading this almost certainly demonstrates awareness. And, as for money, nearly 23 million dollars have been donated in just the last few weeks… and that’s only to the ALS Association.
Closer to home, one of my friend’s closest friends married a man – Steve Dezember – who is fighting ALS as we speak. I have connected with them from a distance and continue to pray for them often. I have prayed long for healing, but I have also prayed for another part of their struggle… their faith. If you click on Steve’s name above, it takes you to an ABC News story. In it you will see my friend Joel baptizing Steve. Hope and Steve have combined faith and fighting ALS. They are likely the reason that my attention was drawn this direction.
As I have watched these Ice Bucket Challenges, at least 100 at this reading, I have noticed some accidental mirror images between people who say they accept the Ice Bucket Challenge and people who say they accept the challenge to follow Jesus. I am not judging. The fact is, no matter what you believe about either of these realities, the word is getting out. It may not be how you would do it, but at the end of the day it isn’t about you anyway. See if you agree.
- Most are excited to tell their story – sure everyone does it in their own style, but as they tell their story, you will quickly learn something of their motivation for participation.
- Some have no idea why they are doing it – this is not a judgment, just an observation. When someone just stands there and “does the deed” with no reference to why or for what… well, you get it.
- Others are careful with the details – others want you to know the history and why this decision is so important to them.
So why are you doing it? Now I’m talking about following Jesus. If that’s a challenge that you’ve accepted, please make sure that first of all you know why. Next I would challenge all of us, in our own style, to learn how to effectively tell our own story.