You're not trying to equate your 21st century economic understanding to that of the 2100 BC? Yes, I can see where people would voluntarily become a lifelong slave (employee) when many were lucky to have one meal a day and a decent roof over their heads. And if you had a compassionate "master" (employer), where you'd want to stay with him for life. Again, this is a hazy picture of your ownership either by God or by the Deceiver that would later be understood after the arrival of Jesus.
And your "awl" provides an an Old Testament example and description of being "sealed" or "owned" forever by God. And this too is voluntary. As true with the Mark of the Beast...the person will be sealed or marked who they are owned by. In this case, one is marked owned by Satan. In the Book of Revelation during the Tribulation, there is a description that forbids certain judgments from occurring to those "Sealed by God"...or marked as His, per se. If I had to go thru this Tribulation period and it required an "awl thru my ear" to escape this judgment, yes--I'd be more than willing to take it...and my family too.
Whether one likes it or not, there's two masters. One's "ownership" is sealed spiritually to either God or Satan regardless if they believe it or not. Regardless if they contend they never made a choice of this "ownership". They have. You will understand your "ownership" by Jesus because this is a decision you must willfully make (Jesus said sheep know their master). But by even rejecting Jesus, where the person erroneously thinks they've done nothing, not made a decision--they have, in fact, accepted the conditions of Satan--willfully. They've declared their ownership...and are "awled" accordingly.
Thank you. Much better description of the issue than I could give. I love the gospel and try my best to understand it in its full context, but I often fall way short in trying to explain it to people. Can't make the necessary connections sometimes between my head and my mouth.