The Ice Bucket Challenge


But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. (John 12:4-6)

[This was originally posted two years ago so the illustration might be a bit dated, but in many ways you can plug in whatever the social justice craze of the moment is, even: #blacklivesmatter/#alllivesmatter or whatever the fad issue will be six months from now]

Read: Jeremiah 21:1-14, Jeremiah 34:1-22, Ezekiel 24:15 – 25:17, Ezekiel 29:1-16, Ezekiel 30:20 – 31:18

Relate: Have you been pulled in? At this point it has mostly run its course but you still see a video popping up here and there. Is one of them yours? Did you get suckered into doing the ALS ice bucket challenge? If not, it is really quite simple. Get someone to record it on video, grab some ice and water, throw it in a bucket, and you’re ready. Once the camera’s rolling, announce that you are doing this to raise money and awareness for ALS, mention a couple friends who now have twenty-four hours to do the challenge themselves, then have someone pour that bucket of ice and water over your head. Once done, post this to facebook and watch the likes pile on. If you manage to throw in some funny twist then you even have the chance of becoming a youtube sensation.

Of course, ideally everyone who has done one of these videos is supposed to be giving ten dollars to ALS but that part is usually conveniently ignored. “Raising awareness” is good enough. Also, those who refuse the challenge are supposed to give a hundred dollars. Right. Good luck with that. All this is really doing is giving a bunch of attention seekers a chance to get those facebook “likes” they so desperately crave. Of course there’s those on the flip side posting anti-ALS videos as well. “All that water being wasted is horrible for the environment”. Please. If you care that much stop taking showers. If you live out your complaining, you’ll find out who your true friends are real quick. They are the ones telling you to get off your high horse and back to the showering. Then there’s the “Christian” argument, “ALS supports stem cell research and therefore they are evil.” Whatever.

On both sides of this internet sensation there are a whole bunch of people spewing out some very noble words but all to often it is only because they have alternative reasons. They want the attention. They want to be seen as doing good. They want more “likes” than their friend got. They are Judas. Judas spewed out some noble words as well. What a waste. This could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Yes, very noble Judas. Except you tend to help yourself to that money don’t you? Isn’t there a bit of jealousy in there as well? This woman, yes… woman, is performing an intimate act of worship that you, a “noble, respectable” man hadn’t even dreamed of doing. She is wasting herself for the Lord and you can’t stand it. So you dress yourself up in religious indignation and speak out against it.

React: So we dress ourselves up in religious indignation and cry out against it. I have to admit, when this video craze first started going around I was half tempted to make one about why I won’t give to ALS. I was going to talk about all the other causes I give towards. I had to check myself. All I really wanted was to brag. I wanted to be noticed. I was about to do exactly what I was accusing others of doing.

And in spite of all the false motives, the truth remains that millions of dollars have been given to finding a cure for ALS. Many more have taken up the challenge but given to a different cause they are passionate about. A gift given out of false motives is still better than nothing at all. So give. Don’t worry about the ice, or the video, or the attention. Just give. If it is for ALS, great. If there is another cause you feel passionate about, even better. Judas said the right things, but Mary did the right things. Which one will you imitate?


As you close today’s devotional, pray for a cause that is near and dear to your heart. While you are praying, take a moment to give as well. I’ve linked below to a few causes that I feel strongly about as well to make it easy for you to do so.

Project Rescue – To restore/rescue/prevent sexual slavery
World Vision – Has a variety of needs and causes you can give towards including sponsoring a child
Invisible Children – Fighting against the abduction of children to use as soldiers
International Justice Mission – Fighting a legal battle against the human slave trade
Convoy of Hope – Bringing help and hope to the poor and hurting
Two Rivers Assembly – My local church



[Edit: If you have another organization you are giving towards, please feel free to send us a link in the comments section.]

27 thoughts on “The Ice Bucket Challenge

  1. I love how you took something that we can all envision, and possibly even connect with, if we were one of the lucky ones to have ice poured over our heads…
    and taught us powerful biblical truths.
    Great Post today!

  2. Hi BJ, thanks for the “like” on my blog earlier on the some similar issues. If you are happy to have the link here it is (happy to reciprocate):

    I am one of those people who is concerned not just about the message being diluted by the stunt, but also the use of water in such a wasteful manner (we can debate the shower issue another time!).

    You make some interesting points, and can’t help thinking that the Judas vs Mary comparison warrants a lot more space at some point.

  3. Hi BJ, I wonder if you would let me use this in the upcoming issue of Single! Young Christian Woman online magazine and then post on the WordPress archives. I will link back to the original post and include a brief bio for you at the end of the article. Do I have your permission?
    Donna Schillinger

  4. Thanks for the message… It’s what I needed to read in hearing so much criticism about the challenge. Speaking of which, I read in India they started the rice challenge where they give rice away to someone who needs it. Id say it’s a great spinoff the ice bucket challenge to highlight another issue that needs awareness, hunger.

  5. Thank you for talking about this, BJ . . .you did a great job of putting it all in Perspective, with us just remembering the important thing . . .to give. God bless you!
    And here’s a couple of links . . .

  6. An interesting take on the ALS bucket challenge. Doesn’t faith always come down to the matter of the heart! Yes, we can do good and bless others by our actions and we should. However, the blessings (for us and others) multiply if God already has our hearts!

  7. Hi BJ, you raise some good points here. I dumped the water, posted the video and donated to
    I like your Judas/Mary analogy you can also use the example of the Pharisee who prays loudly on the street corner or the person praying quietly and sincerely at home.
    As you stated, the point is to give. Give your time, prayers and love.

  8. Reblogged this on confessions of a newbie…. and commented:
    Thought provoking! I did do this challenge personally, when we were told my nanny has cancer, though we did it for cancer research and yes, we donated and yes, we posted them on Facebook. There are many things we do in private that God will see but now and again some encouragement to others is good in my humble opinion! Ie if I can do it, so can you!! 🙂

  9. Hi BJ, I recently participated in the ice bucket challenge in league with the other gals at our workplace. The business owner wanted to do it in honour of a long-time employee who recently died from ALS. The business was to make the donation. However, I agree with you in that I think that a large number of people who have done the challenge have done so for their 15 seconds of fame on the internet. A heart that truly wishes to give does so in modest anonymity.

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