This post is not news to anyone paying attention to news. With Steve Jobs’ death, many folks are reflecting on a variety of things. Some are noting what an impact one man can have on even the everyday life of seemingly everyone on the planet. Others are reflecting on the importance of vision in leadership. Still others are considering their own mortality, seeing a man struck down in what by all accounts was likely the prime of his working career. And, of course, some are looking at more mundane things, such as what the impact will be on Apple stock and the company’s future course.
For my own part, my thoughts are a mix of all of those — lacking focus, perhaps, due to a rather intimidating “to do” list. My mortality is certainly on my mind, as is my capacity (or corresponding lack thereof) to provide vision — not just as a pastor, but as a father and a husband.
Of course, a man’s accomplishments aren’t to be measured by the flood of emotions felt or thoughts experienced moments after his passing, but rather are to be considered as more time has passed and as those accomplishments are challenged by the ideas that follow, as well as after the fruit of consequence has had more time to ripen. Still, that the man has impacted many is impossible to deny. I find men like him fascinating: men whose vision — and whose singular devotion to the integrity of that vision — is strong enough to move large numbers of other men in the same direction, such as Walt Disney and, to a certain extent, George Lucas. (The latter’s singular devotion to his vision ruining the childhood memories of millions, but let’s not get into that…)
Some biblical meditation might be worthwhile (when is it not?)…
“For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” — James 4:14
“What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave? Selah” — Psalm 89:48
While Mr. Jobs’ achievements were, indeed, fantastic, and he has contributed to the world we live in today in ways no one else has, those achievements, too, will eventually pass away, like the realm and power of Shelley’s Ozymandias. Let’s celebrate those achievements, but let’s also use the occasion to focus our efforts on achieving goals of eternal value, serving God and His coming Kingdom (cf. Matt. 6:33). Such achievements truly are the only ones that will last.
Though, I happily note that often in researching and working toward such goals of eternal value, I look up scriptures on an app on my iPhone. 🙂 Thanks, Mr. Jobs.
So, while the world celebrates the life and achievements of Steve Jobs, I look forward to meeting him in person in the Second Resurrection, and hearing his own evaluation of that life and those achievements — an evaluation that will happen in the context of a new vision, one greater even than any of those he saw or imagined in this life.