Putting a Dollar Value on Faith?

Here’s a trivia fact that will make some of us feel old. If Elvis Presley were still alive, January 8 would be his 80th birthday! Of course he made it to just a little over half of that and departed this life at age 42.

The impact Elvis had on the world of music and on our culture is staggering. Some estimate that his songs have sold over a billion records worldwide, far surpassing the sales of any other musician.

When Elvis first attained popularity, both he and his music were often labeled as “unwholesome.” However, from the beginning, Elvis chose to do a lot of Gospel music. That seemed to be a lasting legacy from his childhood. When he was growing up he attended church regularly with his mother. People who knew him well said his early connection with religious music and faith in God had an enduring effect in his life.

Despite his tremendous success in the market, he won only three Grammy awards. I find it interesting that those Grammys were awarded not for his secular songs but for two of his Gospel songs: “How Great Thou Art,” and “He Touched Me.” Perhaps the music professionals saw more clearly than the general public ever did how Presley’s faith gave depth and power to his music.

Another indication of the value of his faith came to light about 18 months ago. Throughout his life Elvis kept a Bible that had his name inscribed on the front cover. After his death, that heavily worn Bible revealed a little about his inner life. It contained a lot of notes apparently written by Elvis himself.

One note in the back of his Bible says, “To judge a man by his weakest link or deed is like judging the power of the ocean by one wave.” Another says, “Every man can be tempted, with God by your side every man can be saved.”

It’s impossible to measure the value of faith in our heart, but about a year ago that Bible was sold at auction for $94,600. I’ll round that up to a hundred thousand dollars and say from my vantage point that’s a good starting point for the value for faith!

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