Yesterday in church our opening hymn was “I Love to Tell the Story.” It is one of those great old hymns where you really don’t need to have the words on the overhead screen or in the bulletin because everyone knows it. I don’t think we’ve ever sung it in church before, but it was perfect to go with the message we heard. (Our worship team always does a great job of selecting music appropriate for the message!)
Before I get to the message, I wanted to share this Alan Jackson version of this beautiful hymn:
We had a special guest speaker who is a perfect example of one who loves to tell the story. He is a representative of The Gideons International. He shared with us how the Gideons distribute Bibles worldwide and the impact they have made.
When I think of the Gideons, I think of how there has always been a Bible placed by the Gideons in every hotel or motel room I’ve ever stayed in. I always thought that was the only way they distributed Bibles. And our speaker did mention that there are some new hotels with a policy that they will not open until all the Gideon Bibles are placed. He also told the story of a local hotel where the Gideons couldn’t get there before the grand opening. When they arrived a few days after the opening, the manager told him the story of a couple who had enjoyed their stay, but noticed that there was no Gideon Bible in the room.
I learned yesterday, however, that putting Bibles in hotel and motel rooms is only a small part of what the Gideons do. They also bring Bibles to people in hospitals, distribute Bibles in prisons, and on college campuses. According to their website, in the last fiscal year they placed 10,802,435 Bibles in the United States, including youth Testaments, college Testaments, hotel Bibles, hospital Bibles, prison Bibles, and medical Testaments. They also distribute 68,190,377 Bibles to 192 countries worldwide last year. Since they first started in 1908, the Gideons have placed over 1.7 billion Bibles.
A great thing about this ministry is that if you donate money to them, 100% of your donation goes to the purchase and distribution of Bibles because the Gideons, who are all volunteer, pay their own expenses and the administrative costs.
The Gideons’ ministry is based on two wonderful scriptures that were our readings for yesterday’s service:
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV).
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV).
I know I love to tell the story of Jesus and His love. That’s what this blog is all about. It is always such an encouragement to hear from others who love to tell His story, too. I left church yesterday quite encouraged by this speaker, having learned of another great way to help distribute God’s Word around the world to those who want and need it. Our guest speaker asked mostly for prayer, and so I am passing his request on to you. Please pray for this terrific ministry. And if the Holy Spirit leads you, they can certainly use your financial support as well. Just click on the link above to visit their website and learn more.