But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:3-4 (NLT)
This scripture came to mind a few weeks ago when I was nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I had spent the day at work and was scheduled to be back the next. Before turning in for the night, I checked Facebook and had a few notifications. I reviewed them, only to see one of my dearest friends dumping a bucket of ice water over her head, not before naming me as one of her nominees. In consideration of the fourteen hours I am away from my home on the days I work, thus not able to meet the twenty-four hour timeframe; and furthermore, considering the friendship and admiration I have for this person, I resorted to budgeting in my donation from my next paycheck and leaving my participation silent.
That is until my ten year-old son was nominated, followed by my thirteen year-old daughter, and then once again I was nominated by someone I go to church with. I’m going to be brutally honest. I felt somewhat annoyed. Can’t we just give privately without all social media knowing? Can’t we support a worthy cause without dumping a bucket of ice water on us? And what kid actually has their own money to donate anyway? Please don’t send me ugly messages for sharing these thoughts with you. I’m going somewhere with it, I promise. I’m learning life lessons, yes even at thirty-three, and this is the place I share them.
My thoughts progressed. Until last Sunday evening when my kids were swimming while my husband and I buzzed around the house, getting laundry and ironing finished, and going through their school papers and agendas to start a new week. My daughter runs in to get her iPod touch, because no, although she is thirteen she still doesn’t have her own phone yet. We didn’t pay too much attention to why she was getting it. But she definitely grabbed my attention when she came back in to tell me she was going to post a video to Instagram of her eight year-old brother taking the ice bucket challenge—AND THE WATER WASN’T EVEN COLD!!!! Well, that’s when I laid it out for three of my children who seemed to view this ice bucket challenge as something fun, something everyone was doing.
The questions began flying. “Do you even know what ALS is?” “Do you understand that it’s a terrible disease, and people don’t only die from it, they suffer?” “Do you think this is about dumping ice water on your head?” “Do you think it’s just funny?” Well, I’m so glad I began asking all those questions that were piling up in my mind and my heart. The outcome was telling my children we could all do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but only if they could give me a report on the disease and if they would pitch in some of their own money to donate.
And the next day, they had it all ready. My daughter realizing that this is the same disease her friend’s father passed away from a few years ago. It became personal. It was no longer about the hype of social media, but about a family affected. Girls who will never have their father see them walk the stage at graduation or walk them down the aisle at their wedding. It was about their desperation for a cure not yet available. A cure we all hope to help advance by the buckets of ice water and our donations.
Had it not been for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, I don’t know that my children would have been made aware of the disease. It opened the door, not only for me to re-direct them, but for my own correction as well. You see, I’ve read some posts that reflected some of the same thoughts I had. Some of us are resistant to jumping on what we think are bandwagons. But this opened the door for awareness. This opened the door for education. This opens the door for the possibilities to advance research.
I understand, when we give, we don’t want to shout it from the rooftops. And while some may see it as such, it’s undeniably been a fantastic inspiration in prompting others to give. I’m grateful to have been nominated and to have participated, and I’m proud of my kids for pushing me to do so.
“You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 2:35 NLT
“And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” Titus 2:7 NLT
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