This past Sunday we had our annual report from the Gideons International. It was great to hear how this Bible distribution organization is being welcomed in countries like China and India. Many people did not think it was possible in our lifetime to see a place like China be open to having Bibles in their language brought into their land. But it is happening because the people are praying about it and God is answering their prayers. As we rejoice for what God is doing in China we have to be embarrassed to see what Americans are doing to block the Gideons from doing the same in our country.
For as long as I can remember, travelers across the US could always depend on finding a Gideon Bible in their hotel room. In 2006 95% of hotels and motels offered a Bible in their rooms, that number is 48% this year. The reason given by industry trackers is a desire to appeal to younger American travelers who are less devout than their parents or grandparents and to avoid offending international travelers such as Muslims or Buddhists. Marriott is leading the way in blocking Bibles by openly admitting their new ultra-hip hotels will not be carrying a Bible in each room. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is placing pressure on the hotel industry to remove all the Bibles. Last year they convinced colleges in Arizona and Illinois to remove their Bibles from the hotels they operate. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hotel-bibles-20161204-story.html
Why does this matter? It matters because thousands of lives have been changed in those hotel rooms. There are countless stories from business travelers who found the Bible late one night and gave their life to Christ. There are other stories of people who were down on their luck and about to give up but found encouragement from what they read. Another question, what’s the harm? What are folks like FFRF afraid of happening? It is a shame that atheist China sees the benefit from Bible distribution but Christian America does not see the damage of the Pay Per View movies offered in many of these hotels. We have grown complacent. I can’t help but think of the story of Josiah.
Josiah became king at a spiritually and politically bleak point in Israel’s history. Israel had been led by a succession of wicked kings that led the nation steadily away from God and they were defeated and almost destroyed. After Josiah came to power he gave orders to repair the temple in Jerusalem. During the repairs workers found a copy of the Law of Moses and brought it to the king. When it was read before him he tore his clothes and instructed his leaders to go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness. He said, “For the Lord’s great anger has been poured out on us because our ancestors have not obeyed the word of the Lord. We have not been doing everything this scroll says we must do.”2 Chronicles 34
It is sad to think that this story might be repeated in future generations. We have a habit of ignoring things we disagree with and removing things that convict us. As we see this pattern repeated, the end result is always a group of people who return to what is right because of how bad their situation has become. Are we willing to allow the next generation to suffer as Israel because we are concerned with being politically correct? Will we sit idly by because we are concerned about the decorations in a hotel room appealing to a millennial? Have there been that many complaints or do we just trust that the atheist groups are telling us the truth about what the next generation wants?
Today, do your part and don’t buy into the lies of those who wish to extinguish the Gospel message. The Gideons have done the Kingdom of God a great service. Let’s join with them and others like them to make sure the truth is proclaimed in our lifetime so that those who come after us will benefit just as we have.
Serving the Savior
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