As everyone knows, Steve Jobs died this week.
Without question, Steven P. Jobs was a technological genius and changed the way we send and receive information. He took something that was complex and made it accessible to young and old alike.
Let me add something here that may surprise you: In many ways, I believe Steve Jobs helped pave the way for many more people all over the world to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Two-thousand years ago, the Romans built a road system and established a common language in all their territories. Missionaries, apostles and common believers of that day utilized these things to bring the gospel to their generation. I believe Jobs did something similar for our generation.
Yes, there were personal computers before Jobs, but he made them more fun, and thus, more usable. Before Jobs, there was no such thing as an iPod, an iPhone or an iPad. Now these devices have become a part of our everyday lives.
Most Christian ministries now have a “podcast,” which is an archived message you can download and listen to at your convenience. Our own ministry, Harvest, recently released an iPhone/iPad app that allows access to a ton of media content filled with Bible teaching and the gospel. I personally listen to podcasts every day on my Apple Nano, I am typing this on an Apple MacBook Pro laptop, and I read through the Bible in a year on the Harvest iPad app.
Jobs on the brevity of life
Steve Jobs also had some perceptive insights into the brevity of life. After finding out he had pancreatic cancer, he faced it head on, which is quite rare in this day and age. He once said, “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.”
That is exactly right. No one has ever escaped death, and no one ever will. The Bible says, “It is appointed unto a man once to die” (Hebrews 9:27).
When Steve would reveal his newest invention from the Apple labs, he would often save it for the end of his presentation, introducing it with the words, “And one more thing …”
After finding out he had cancer, Steve gave a commencement address to the graduating students of Stanford University. He added this “one more thing” that I doubt those students will ever forget. He said, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
That’s right again.
Statisticians tell us that three people die every second, 180 every minute, 11,000 every hour. That means that every day 250,000 people enter into eternity. The psalmist writes: “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should. … You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath” (Psalms 90:12; 39:5, NLT).
Phillip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, commissioned his servant to stand in his presence each and every day and repeat this statement: “Philip, you will die!” In contrast, France’s Louis XIV decreed that the word “death” not be used in his presence.
Most of us are more like Louis then Philip, denying death and avoiding the discussion. Jobs faced death head on. If anyone could have found a way around it, with his genius, Jobs would have been that man.
But death is no respecter of persons; it knocks at every door. So, make your life count, because one day you will stand before God and give an account for it. Knowing death is coming, will, as Steve Jobs said, “help you make the right choices in life.”
The most important choice you could ever make would be to come into a relationship with the God who created you and has a unique plan for your life – the God who can be known in a personal way through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
So, today, we mark the passing of a genius, a man who opened up media in a remarkable way, and a man who helped “build the roads” the Gospel can go out on.
For that, and for his life, I am thankful.