In 1990, a seminary intern serving at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina prayed a simple prayer: “Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat,” That prayer inspired a youth-led movement to help hungry and hurting people around the world.
His prayer gave birth to an idea. Why not use Super Bowl weekend, a time when people come together for football and fun, to also unify the nation for a higher good: collecting dollars and canned food for the needy? Youth could collect donations at their schools and churches in soup pots, and then send every dollar DIRECTLY to a local charity of THEIR choice.
The senior high youth group liked the idea so much they decided to invite other area churches to join the team. Twenty-two Columbia churches participated that first year, reporting their results so a total could be determined, and then sending all $5,700 they had raised for area non-profits.
On Sunday Night many folks will settle down with friends and family to watch men line up on each side of a hopefully fully inflated ball on every play, staring each other down, each determined to beat the other, maybe even praying they could do their best. I think it’s the Super Bowl of Staring.
For the last 25 years, ordinary young people have generated an extraordinary $100 million of food and money for soup kitchens, food banks and other charities in communities across the country. In addition, hundreds of thousands of youth have experienced for themselves the joy and satisfaction of giving and serving, inspiring people of all ages to follow their generous example.
You know what? I don’t believe that God cares who wins the Super Bowl. God cares for the players and appreciates it should any of them acknowledge their faith… but then, God cares about those who have yet to acknowledge him. God cares about the team that doesn’t get to go to Disneyland and especially for those on either team that haven’t come to know God yet! God cares about the millions of fans that will be watching the game and the commercials. God CARES about you!
God cares about each one of you and calls each one of us to spend our lives living, in the words from Romans 12:10,“to outdo one another in showing love and honor. “ People who strive to do that are the Most Valuable Players in the Souper Bowl of Caring.