Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Example of Steve Jobs

I am guessing there will be more blog posts written about the death of Steve Jobs than any recent event to happen in the past year. Maybe even more than the death of Osama Bin Laden. As I have thought about the little I know about Steve Jobs today after hearing about his death, I have been asking myself this question: "Why was he so popular?"

Yes, of course, he revolutionized how we think about technology. I remember my mom getting a Mac when I was just out of high school. It was very cool. Over the years, I have dabbled a bit in the Mac world, but have recently drank a bit of the Apple kool-aid. I am typing this on my MacBook Pro with my IPhone 4 sitting next to me with my iPod Classic in my backpack. The products he has produced has changed the way I work and live. Yet, I am not so sure this is why he is so popular. The die-hard Apple fans might think this next statement is sacrilegious, but I think the reason he is so popular has more to do with who he was as a person and less to do with what he produced.

You see, Jobs stood before us as an example of a brilliant thinker. He set the standard on thinking outside the box. I look forward to reading his biography when it comes out at the end of the month, but I wonder what motivated him to see things that others did not. He saw not only what we did not see, but what we could not dream up. He was an example of a hard worker. The stories are all over the place of his demanding of perfection and not allowing people to leave work until things were what they were supposed to be. He gave his all to his business.

He was an example of the perfect salesman. He would tell you what you needed before you even knew it existed. He was able to get the average person hyped about something that was so out of the box that they would stand in line for hours to get it. Then after about a year, he would convince you why the product that was so revolutionary and perfect wasn't really that good. You needed an upgrade with the newest and best gadget. And people would trade in the old for the new.

But even in his death, he gave us one last example. This is probably the most serious and unfortunately the most tragic. He lived his life as the example that many people are going to follow. His life is an example of someone who gained the whole world and lost his soul. He died an extremely wealthy man. Apple has said to have 75 billion dollars available to spend, which is more than the US Government had available. He had it all, yet in the end there is little to no evidence that he had Jesus or the gospel. If this fact is indeed true, as it seems to be, he exemplifies the words of Jesus as the person who gained the whole world in exchange for his soul. Jesus said,
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forefeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37).
Right now, I guarantee you that Steve Jobs would give up Apple, and all its gadgets, products, and money that was earned from it, in exchange for his soul. Right now to Steve Jobs, the ipad2 or iPhone 4s seem so trivial. He does not care how many apps are on iTunes or how thin the new MacBook Air is. What he cares about as he looks towards a future of eternal torment is the missed opportunity to embrace Jesus while he lived.

So, while you might look to Jobs as an example of a great thinker, motivator, communicator, or hard worker, I would beg of you to not follow his example of risking your soul in the pursuit of money or popularity. Do not risk your soul in exchange for the world. Do not exchange your eternal life for a blimp on the radar here.


  1. Amen. I was thinking along the same lines. He didn't take any of his wealth with him and earthly possessions all amount to nil for him now. The fact that work was so important for him up until barely more than a month prior to his death seems to attest to a strong work (worldly) ethic and not so much hard work on his own souls saving:( I didn't know him so I surely couldn't say anything for certain but this is how it appears.

  2. Actually, my view of Steve Jobs changed when I read yesterday that he intially denied being the father of his daughter, even going to so far as to claim to be sterile. I know people can change, and maybe he did, I just detest seeing people put on a pedestal. I have yet to meet a mere mortal who deserves that.


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