Today I saw on the front page of the Saturday Age, an reference to the Insight article on the life and death of Apple genius, Steve Jobs. It caught my eye because of the heading, “The Man Who Changed Mankind”. Now, to be sure, his creations have changed many ways that many people communicate in the West and across the globe. I own an iPhone, I am writing this blog on my iPad and earlier today I was looking at buying an iMac. Steve Jobs has definitely impacted my life.
But “changed mankind?” I know it’s just sensationalist journalism, but I think it does reflect how impressed the world was with Steve Jobs.
Steve had everything the world values: Friends, family, money, power, creativity, intelligence, perseverance, moral values, respect and a legacy that effected the world. He was truly “successful” in every way that the world defines that word.
And yet with all his success he still had no power over when his time was up. He had everything that people are working so hard to achieve, and yet, in the end, he still died and all his success is snuffed out like a candle. Like every other person who has died before him, he died and met his Maker – a Maker that he didn’t believe in and a Maker that was in no way prepared to meet.
Jesus famously said, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his soul?” (Mark 8:36). Sadly, Steve Jobs is a perfect example of that man. All of his wealth and success and global impact meant absolutely nothing when he stood before God to be judged. God was not impressed with all of the gadgets Steve has helped to create. He was not won over by Steve’s cleverness or intelligence or even whatever level of moral character he had. In the end, Steve stood before God simply as a human being with nothing in his hands other than all of his debt to God. Steve was judged by God not based on human materialistic standard, but on his holy standards based on how he lived up to the ultimate purpose and duty of a creature who is made in the image of God: Whether he loved God with all his mind and soul and strength, and whether he loved his neighbour as he loved himself.
Not just because he didn’t believe in Jesus and denied God’s existence, but like all of us, Steve’s life fell very short from God’s standard and he would have no excuse before a God who sees all and knows all.
Now in this way, Steve is just like all of us. As Paul writes in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The saddest thing is that Steve stood before God with no way of turning aside God’s judgement. He had no way of appealing. No argument for mercy. No hope for salvation. He did not know nor respond to the amazing and unique provision that God has provided for humans who find themselves facing death and judgement.
God came to earth 2,000 years ago in the man Jesus to specifically deal with this great problem that we all face. He lived the perfect life that we all should live and then he died a unique death. It was unique because in his death he didn’t face any judgement for his own sin (seeing as he didn’t have any sin to be judged). Instead he bore in his death the great judgement that is reserved for us. He took all our punishment and guilt and sinfulness and died so that those that put their trust in him would be able to stand before God with no judgement left. For those who turn to Jesus and trust in him, all of the judgement of God has been exhausted. This is the one and only hope that any human has to be able to meet their Maker and be welcomed into his kingdom. It truly is amazing that God would go to such lengths to make it possible for us to enjoy something that we don’t deserve, but that is what he has done and Jesus is the one and only way to receive it.
Sadly, unless Steve Jobs experienced some form of last minute conversion that no one knows about, I don’t think he went to meet God with any such hope.
All of his efforts in life were in vain. Like the book of Ecclesiastes so repeatedly says, all of his success was meaningless, like a vapour or wisp of smoke that comes and then disappears from vaporizers at https://www.grasscity.com/vaporizers/. No matter how impressive he may have seemed by our petty standard, ultimately his life was wasted.
The bible has lots to say about making sure we don’t waste our lives in the same way and I hope that we all heed God’s warning. I will leave you with these powerful and harrowing words from a story Jesus told in Luke 12:16-21…
Jesus told them this parable:
The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, `What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, `This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘
But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.
(This blog is dedicated to my friend and brother in Christ, Ben Mason, who died recently. He did not share the global success that Steve Jobs experienced. He was not wealthy or famous and no one other than a group of people even knew he existed. His life has come and gone and the world will not remember him. But he was a man that knew and trusted in Jesus, and because of that it makes all the difference. Because he was a Christian he stood before God as a man forgiven and innocent. Because he was a Christian all of heaven welcomed him and he could enjoy life with God forever. He was a man who had not gained the whole world, but in gaining Jesus, he saved his soul rather than lost it.)