When Steve Jobs' death was announced, though expected, it still shocked many. Jobs was a unique man. Some have called him a visionary. He's been described as the "Edison of our time." Apple stores now double as memorial sites as flowers and cards are left at the doors. I've seen "iSad" on numerous signs and Facebook postings lamenting his death. He certainly was very intelligent and creative.
I hope you will join me in praying for the family of Steve Jobs, his wife and children especially. Pray for the dear friends who have lost a loved one.
I posted earlier in the week a simple link to Facebook from the Apple website that stated "Steve Jobs 1955-2011."
I put no other statement, comment or link with this other than the link to the Apple website. I found it interesting that within just a few hours a dialog had begun in the comment section about the impact, humanity and spirituality of Steve Jobs. Some clearly stated that he was not a believer in Christ. Others were offended that someone would dare judge someone as not being a Christian whom they had never met. The dialog was getting . . . well, nowhere productive, so I ended up deleting the post completely.
On Friday morning at one of our local junior high schools, the question of legacy and life and death came up, so Steve Jobs came up once again. One of the junior high boys asked point blank, "So, is Steve Jobs in heaven?"
Hmmm. Great question. This led to a wonderful discussion.
Steve Jobs is going to be greatly missed in this world. He brought many computer innovations, not to mention the entertainment of Pixar films, to the world. I worked at IBM for a number of years and our theme was based on Thomas Watson's message of "Think." We all had little signs in our offices with the "Think" plaque attached. I still have mine.
Jobs, and Apple came along and introduced a similar, but different theme of "Think Different."
I'm not sure how many outside the computer industry caught that as a response to IBM and the PC, but we did.
Jobs and Apple pushed the envelope. The Macintosh was so different than the PC-DOS based systems out there. Computer mouse? What's the use of that? GUI (Graphical User Interface) was another innovation. Now, these are standard.
When I was at IBM, Jobs was not at Apple. He had been fired. That seems crazy nowadays to even imagine. Apple fired Steve Jobs! They hired a CEO from Pepsi named John Sculley. Under Sculley and subsequent leaders, Apple almost faded away. It's hard to imagine that Apple was at one time headed down the same path as Compaq and Gateway and a host of other computer companies that were poised for greatness only to be relegated to the class of "also-rans." Here's a good article from Bloomberg BusinessWeek on the Sculley-Jobs relationship. (Note the suspenders and bow tie that Jobs is wearing. Obviously before he determined the black shirts and jeans would be his trademark uniform.)
During this time, Jobs founded NeXT Computers. This was an interesting company. It partnered Jobs with Ross Perot (yes, that Ross Perot) as Director. Though short-lived, NeXT had profound impact on the computer industry.
Of course, most of you know that Jobs was brought back as CEO of Apple and under his visionary leadership led Apple to become one of the strongest corporations in the world. Even in a world facing economic downturn, Apple is growing.
It's also interesting to note that many of the Wall Street protestors against corporations have stated that Apple "is different" and they like Apple and Jobs.
Anyway, back to the question from the junior high boy and the comments on Facebook. With all that Jobs has done for technology and entertainment, the question remains about eternity.
Many have viewed Jobs commencement address at Stanford University back in 2005. Knowing that his time on earth was coming to a close, he sounds prophetic regarding life and living it to the fullest.
One of the most repeated quotes from Jobs is this:
“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. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
It echoes the statement from Solomon as recorded in Ecclesiastes 7:2
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.
Funerals and death are great reminders of what matters in life. The parties, feastings, fear of embarrassment and failure, etc. melt in the presence of a casket. Death is the destiny of all. The living should take it to heart.
While I pray that Jobs came to understand that life is eternally available only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I have seen no indication publicly that he ever accepted this. Jobs was a very private man, so perhaps he did come to Christ. However, there are numerous stories that lead one to believe he held more a New Age or Buddhist view of life and eternity. Still, we will not know this side of heaven.
This we do know.
The life God gives us here on earth is short. Whether 20 years, 56 years or maybe even 100, is so very short when compared to eternity.
The things we do in this life matter. I appreciate Jobs and the things he was able to do. As I write on my iPad, listen to music on my iPod and watch Toy Story, I am reminded of his giftedness and innovative mind.
Yet, just as other great innovators left some wonderful toys and tools for generations to come, the truth of the matter is that a man is not defined by the stuff of this world. He is defined through a relationship with the Creator of it all. The greatest Innovator and Creative Mind ever.
Simply put, what one does with Jesus Christ is what really matters.
So, as my young friend asked "Is Steve Jobs in heaven?" The answer for Jobs is the same as it is for everyone else, "Only if he received Jesus Christ's sacrifice as payment for his sin and became a child of God."
Not sure how to do this? I was going to link you to a site called "The Kristo" but it requires a Flash plug-in. Since Jobs did not like Flash and iPhones and iPads do not run the software, I thought better of it. Therefore, check out this site here. Take the time to read this and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.