Adam Burtle of Woodinville, Washington, did what many do with less fanfare – he sold his soul. He offered it in a listing in an internet auction company’s ad. He had underestimated what his soul was worth to anyone else. The bidding started at 5 cents and topped out at $400.00. The auction company removed the listing and suspended Mr. Burtle, a twenty year old, from using the site. The buyer, a woman from Des Moines, Iowa, will have to settle for a night on the town or his natural death, said Mr. Burtle, “Due to the difficulties involved with removing my soul.”
This bit of foolishness points up a valuable lesson: one’s soul is of small value to anyone else. But life, death, the judgement, and eternal afterlife will vindicate the scriptural claim made by Jesus Himself that the value of one’s soul is greatest to the owner. Mark 8:36.
The world’s literature is filled with the idea of selling one’s soul – consider The Devil and Daniel Webster, by Stephen Vincent Benet. And there are vague reminders in the oft used phrase of one “selling out.”
In the Old Testament, when Elijah, that outspoken, rough mannered prophet who was the model for that equally rough clothed, outspoken New Testament prophet, John the baptiser, found the evil King Ahab to pronounce Ahab’s and Jezebel’s doom, Ahab asked, in a voice no doubt dripping with sarcasm, “Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?” Elisha answered, “I have found thee because thou hast sold thyself to do that which is evil in the sight of Jehovah.”
“Thou hast sold thyself!!!” One of the most despicable blights on humankind is slavery. But one did not sell himself, perhaps with the exception of indentured servants who would sell themselves on a contract for a specified number of years in return for passage to America from Europe. Ahab, knowing God, knowing the requirements of God for right living, knowing that he, Ahab, was in the responsible position of king over God’s people, was willing to give up all that he had in exchange for the pleasures of sin for a season. Consider the other side. Moses “chose rather to share ill treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches that the treasures of Egypt: for he looked for the recompense of reward.” Hebrews 11:25,26.
Selling one’s soul is not really that rare. People do it all the time. Only usually it is not recognized for what it is. It occurs any time we give up allegiance and commitment to God in exchange for whatever we let keep us from Him. It happens every day – sometimes for less than $400.00!