Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sell It Not

"Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, instruction, and understanding." (Proverbs 23:23)

This is a verse from the Bible that I have pondered for some time. In light of my theories about profitable stories through Truth in Fiction and my very own Amazon Store, some clarification is in order. I could go into great length about its context, quoting the original Greek, and such. But it is more upon my heart to share what it seems to say to me.

According to Seth Godin, in a recent blog post, "Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording... but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art." To me, the Biblical commandment to "buy the truth" is a commandment to those who seek wisdom to volunteer a fair compensation. It is not the job of the wiseman to demand pay for his thoughts, but the responsibility of the seeker to offer.

Any man who would take art (even "free" art) without feeling the need to return the value, surely is in need of the wisdom it possesses. This reminds me of a story I once heard about a thief who broke into a Christian home.

The thief took what he could of value from the home. He was indiscriminant and irreverent. He even grabbed the family Bible, but seeing no value in it, he tore several of the fine paper pages from the book and discarded the rest.

As the story goes, his intention was to use the paper to roll his cigarettes. However, he wound up reading the pages, and was eventually led to Christ.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, would you agree that this fictitious scenario demonstrates the principle of the above verse? Perhaps we should be less concerned with our rights of copy and more concerned with the wisdom contained therein.

The value of capturing truth is in becoming an authority on truth. Should you desire wealth, or the fruits thereof, your honest endorsements will make you a millionaire.

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Seth Godin's newest book.

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