I suppose you could say that it is a sign of the times, but still I was saddened to read that more and more hotel chains are removing Gideon Bibles from their rooms. For years now the Gideons, an organization of Christian businessmen, have placed Bibles in hotel and motel rooms across the country, and they continue to distribute large numbers of Bibles free of charge around the world. But according to a recent Newsweek article changes in the hotel business have resulted in an increasing number of hotel rooms in which there is no Gideon Bible.
However, instead of Bibles some upscale hotels that cater to the growing numbers of younger leisure travellers include such amenities as 'intimacy kits,' free condoms, lover's dice games, and offer 'one night stand packages.' It is yet another indication that the West is morally and spiritually bankrupt and ripe for judgment. One wonders if there are any limits to the desire of so many to wallow in that which is not only wrong but so damaging and ultimately profoundly unsatisfying.
As if we need to encourage those who are on the road away from their families to forsake their marriage vows, or we need to make it easier for young adults to scar themselves for life by encouraging them to indulge in immoral sexual activity. Aren't there enough guilty people? Aren't there enough struggling with depression, lack of self-esteem and suicidal thoughts? Aren't there enough sexually transmitted diseases and broken marriages and families? And is there no limit to corporate greed and irresponsibility that is willing to give the travelling public whatever it asks for?
Whereas the Word of God brings life and true liberty, the kind of sensual indulgence that many seek leaves them empty and hollow inside, used and wasted, and incapable of providing the moral leadership that is so desperately needed in our day. Eternity will reveal how many empty souls picked a Gideon Bible in some lonely hotel room somewhere and to their surprise came face to face with the great Savior of sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ himself. But sadly, eternity will also reveal how many chose the broad road that leads to destruction, a road that many travel including those who encourage their patrons, in the somewhat sarcastic words of Newsweek writer Roya Wolverson: "Sleep with us. Leave the values at home."
May the Gideons continue to distribute the Scriptures and if they are no longer welcome in certain hotel chains may the Lord show us other ways in which we can stand in the public square, on top of the city wall and at the city gate and cry: 'How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?' (Proverbs 1:20-22)