You’ve probably seen them in hotel rooms, waiting rooms and hospital rooms. They come in different shapes and sizes. They’ve been places some of us could never go—prisons, battlefields, third-world countries we can’t even pronounce. According to their stats, 2 billion have been handed out in over 200 countries around the globe. Like Jesus’ miracle banquet of fishes and loaves, Gideon Bibles have been multiplied and handed-out over and over again.
Recently, I heard a story of how a pocket-sized Gideon New Testament saved a life. When Eli Fangidae, an Indonesian businessman, decided to take his own life, a friend found him dangling by a rope and cut him loose. Afterward, in protective custody, Eli decided to try again; at that moment, his attention was drawn to a nearby Gideon New Testament. Out of curiosity, he opened it and read: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him” (1 Cor. 3:16).
“How could the page be opened at that very moment when I was going to commit suicide?” Eli later said. “There were no earmarks, nor were the verses underlined. When I thought of those verses given me by God, I knelt down and cried, ‘Oh God, forgive me. Have mercy on me.’” Eli’s life was changed forever and today he is a Christian praising God for a scripture which led to salvation.
When I read that story I was reminded of what God told the prophet Isaiah. The Lord made an analogy between His Word and the refreshing effect of rain on a dry and parched land:
“As the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Is. 55:10-11).
That’s an amazing promise. God’s Word is a seed that always sprouts when it is sown, an arrow that always finds its mark, a package that always arrives right on time. God’s Word is never wasted; His promises always prosper; His agenda will be accomplished. Whether His Word is proclaimed by tongue or by pen, there is a guaranteed a return on investment.
In the beginning, God’s word was used to create the universe from nothing. He spoke to the faithful—Abraham, Moses, Elijah. Eventually, God’s Word became flesh, through His Son. And God used His words through the early Christians and forefathers to spread and embody the Gospel. God’s Word has created, called, convicted, comforted and one day it will be completed!
Thake heart dear friend—if you are involved in disseminating God’s word your work will be rewarded. That sermon that you thought flopped, actually had a purpose. That devotional you wrote, and you thought no one read, may have not arrived at its destination. That Sunday school lesson you taught where you thought no one was paying attention, may be lodged deeper in their mind than you think. Just keep sowing the Word, “for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9). -DM