5th October 2011 was a memorable date for many people world wide. That was the day Steve Jobs,founder of Apple corporation,died. He was aged 56 and succumbed to pancreatic cancer. A family member gave me his autobiography and I enjoyed the book very much,and was quite fascinated by aspects of his remarkable life. He had his faults and failings like all of us,but certainly made a difference in the world of technology which is still being felt today. He was a man who loved surprises,and often said at his media events “One more thing”. He certainly revolutionized the computer industry. His inventions have changed the way we live. And became one of the most successful men in the world.
When he was 13 he rejected his Christian faith,and was influenced by Buddhism. But he was not sure if God existed. I quote from Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. “He admitted that,as he faced death,he might be overestimating the odds out of a desire to believe in an afterlife. Steve said ‘I’m about 50/50 on believing in God. I really want to believe that something survives,that maybe your consciousness endures”. I find that to be a fascinating thought. Back in 2005,he spoke at a public gathering and described death as “very likely the single best invention in life. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose”. I have a feeling that his premature death made many people think about life after death,as unpleasant a thought as it is.
In fact,this matter of the afterlife has been talked about down through the centuries many times. Many have said with Steve Jobs “I want to believe that something survives”. About a year after being diagnosed with cancer he said “death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be,because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you,but someday not too long from now,you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic,but it is quite true.”.
The Bible helps us to put everything,including Steve Jobs,into proper perspective. Psalm 144:4 says “Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.”
Our lives rush by quickly,and regardless of the level of our material achievements during that time,death washes it all away and becomes the great equalizer. Beyond the grave,there are no wealthy people,no celebrities,no social elite,and no CEOs. All the accolades that are now being sung about Steve Jobs’ life,his amazing technological legacy,and the vast fortune that he accumulated are of no benefit to him now.
In our society,we have a tendency to judge people based on their accomplishments and material success. God,on the other hand,judges all of us equally according to his perfect standards,and we all equally fail to meet those standards. It is only by trusting in Jesus Christ that we are made acceptable in God’s eyes.
For all of Steve’s earthly wealth and power,he was judged in the same manner and by the same standards as the poorest of those that may have died on the same day in 2011.
Yes,all of those stories about his life’s accomplishments are well and fine,but let’s not forget that he had a soul,a soul whose eternal fate,was sealed.
This should be a source of serious contemplation for all of us. His death should be a sober reminder of how quickly this life goes by. It should also remind us that we need to store up our treasures in heaven,not on earth,and that ultimately the only thing that truly matters is our relationship with God.
I appreciate many of the incredible things that Steve Jobs accomplished in his life,but it’s all meaningless as Jesus said in Matthew 16:26 if “he gains the world,but loses his soul”.
Once we believe and accept Christ as our Saviour,our eternal destination is Heaven. So when a Christian dies,it is sad and the normal emotions of loss surface. But there is an assurance that death is not the final separation. One day,a great reunion will take place. One moment we are here on Earth,the next in God’s presence. There is peace in knowing into what place death will usher us. One of the most important verses in the Bible to be serious about is John 14:6 where Jesus said “I am the way,and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
The sadness of loss is real,but the hope of eternity remains in our hearts. From our last breath on Earth to our first in God’s presence,a Christian’s destination is to be with God forever. And that is truly why someone can rest in peace.