For 100 years, many weary travelers have been pleased to discover a complimentary copy of the Bible in their hotel room, thanks to The Gideons International. According to the organization, each Bible placed in a hotel room has the potential to reach up to 2,300 people in its estimated six-year lifespan, and about 25 percent of travelers read the Bibles in their hotel rooms.
An article in Newsweek magazine, however, indicated a growing number of hotels are opting not to allow the placement of Gideon Bibles. The hotels point out that society is evolving, and a younger, hipper generation has no interest in the Bible. They also say they would have to cater to a variety of belief systems and could not single out Christianity.
“In the rooms of Manhattan’s trendy Soho Grand Hotel, guests can enjoy an eclectic selection of underground music, iPod docking stations, flat-screen TVs and even the living company of a complimentary goldfish. But, alas, the Word of God is nowhere to be found,” the article begins.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, noted the tragedy that awaits if people aren’t given the chance to encounter God’s Word when they find themselves troubled in a hotel room.
“Are they now to look for salvation and solace from an iPod docking station or a goldfish?” Mohler asked. “This development is another reminder that we are living in a time of tremendous cultural and moral change. The absence of Gideon Bibles from an increasing number of hotel rooms tells us something about the secularization, sexualization and extreme sensitivities of our age.”
The Gideons receive testimonies almost daily of lives changed because of the Bibles they’ve placed, including one man who planned to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. The man said he threw the Bible onto the hotel room floor and it fell open to John 14, where Jesus says He gives peace. Now the man is a pastor, and his family has been restored.
The Baptist Messenger is confident our readers can make a difference in helping bring back the Bibles. We are asking readers like you and all Oklahoma Baptists to make a call to the front desk when checking in to a hotel. If a Bible is present, express your appreciation to the hotel staff. If you are unable to locate a complimentary Bible, let hotel management know how much you would appreciate having one available and that you would like for them to consider having one in every room. Pray God will stir in the hearts of hotel management and prompt them to provide complimentary Bibles for their guests. While you are at it, pray God will work in the lives of every person who visits your hotel room in the future.
When you have the opportunity, be sure to thank the Gideons. The Gideons International was founded in 1899 and is the oldest Christian business and professional men’s association in the United States of America. Approximately 1.3 billion Scriptures have been distributed worldwide since 1908. Their goal is to distribute Scripture to select public locations where people may find answers to life through an encounter with the Word of God.
Oklahoma Baptists, let’s do our part to help bring back the Bibles! A simple telephone call to the front desk of the hotel could make all the difference in the world.