"Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days" (Ecclesiastes 11:1).
Sending Bibles to men in prison has become almost something of a hobby for me. It's not nearly as much fun to give gifts to your friends as it is to send them to inmates. We of the non-prison population are so jaded that Christmas presents often sit under the tree for days unopened. But not inmates. Guys who "out in the world" would never look twice at an apple or a stamp or a roll of toilet paper find these to be hot commodities when they're behind bars. And guys who had no time to read when they were free have been known to devour great gulps of the Bible on their cots.
When I send a Bible to a prison, I like to send the leather-bound luxury edition of my favorite study Bible. There is something about the feel and smell of leather in a world of concrete.
But that's just a perk. The Word of God is the thing, of course. I like to cast that bread on the water and then wait. . . .
I would like to tell you what happened to the last Bible I sent, this one to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in Somerset. The recipient already had a Bible, it turns out. He told me yesterday that it just so happened that a man he locks with will be taking a little trip to "the hole" (solitary confinement) and asked him if he knew where he could get his hands on a Bible. Tim had just received mine, so he gave his other Bible to the fella who'll be spending a lot of time by himself and would otherwise be reading plastic shampoo bottles.
(Tip for sending Bibles to inmates, in case you are ever so moved: Only books sent from an "approved vender" will get through. So if you use Amazon.com, make sure your book is sent directly by Amazon and not a subsidiary vender.)