As I looked at the front page of our newspaper this morning, I noticed the heading “Apple’s Steve Jobs dies at 56.” Jobs, the “iconic” founder and former CEO of Apple, invented and transformed technology such as the personal computer, the iPod, and the iPhone. His company, proclaimed “the most valuable technology company in the world,” has a market value of $351 billion. And sadly, he passed away after years of illness, leaving behind a wife and four children.
The news reported that Jobs “confronted his own mortality” during a speech in 2005. He was quoted:
Death is very likely the single best invention of life. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…”
I must make a confession. I’ve never owned a single Apple product. I’ve seldom used a Mac, only once played on an iPad2, and occasionally think it would be nice to own an iPhone. To be totally honest, one of the biggest reasons for not venturing into the world of Apple has to do with my own finances. I simply cannot afford (or don’t want it badly enough to afford) what they offer. It’s not that I’m against any of the latest technology. In fact, I spent four years selling the latest and greatest gadgets at Best Buy and Circuit City. It’s amazing how far we’ve come.
Jobs’ death reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a young gang member. At 16, He’s been expelled from school, has no job or marketable skills, is on the regular rotation at the juvenile detention unit, and has no real vision for the future. And yet, as we talked, he exclaimed that he is “about those millions…stacking paper” and insists he will be rich. As he rather arrogantly ranted, I responded with a simple scenario. “There will come a day, even if you had millions of dollars, that you will face a circumstance that money can’t resolve. Then what?” His face revealed a soberness that let me know for at least an instance he grasped what I was saying.
I make no claims to or statements about Steve Jobs’ spiritual condition. I can only pray that he professed salvation through Jesus Christ. His death brings into focus a sobering reality, however. Fame nor fortune could cure his illness or prevent such a premature death. Such ingenuity cannot overcome the sting of sin and death. Jobs is certainly right about one thing: our time is limited.
To be sure, we are all subject to disease and death, but what a difference when we experience the peace, hope, and eternal perspective from knowing Christ. I have to disagree with him in that death is not the best invention of life. In fact, death was never intended to be a part of life. I understand his intention in pointing out that our time is limited, death is a fact of life, and we must therefore live life to the fullest. But we must remember that life doesn’t end at death. Death should not be what drives us. After this life is over, then what? Fame nor fortune can purchase eternal life. Humanity’s ingenuity cannot produce immortality. We should be living life in light of eternity, and eternity should inform the manner in which we live.
There will come a day for all of us when – even if we have the fame, fortune, and ingenuity of Steve Jobs – we will face a circumstance, crisis, or death that those things cannot resolve. Then what?
If you have not experienced salvation, which comes from knowing Jesus Christ, I encourage you to examine your life today. If you ask, He will forgive your sins. He will hear your prayers. He will give you peace and hope. He will change your life. Then you can not only live life to the fullest, you can also live a full life.
Just remember, some things money can’t buy.
*For more on salvation, read Experience Salvation.