October 10, 2011
It doesn’t happen very often, but it sure did, this week. Since last Wednesday, I’ve received multiple e-mails asking the same question: “Is next week’s Point of View going to be about Steve Jobs?”
My commitment to all-things-Apple is pretty well known. I didn’t get on the bus with an Apple II, but I owned one of the first-round Macintoshs, back in 1984 – the year I left my business career to found the ministry I still lead today. From then to now, I’ve been a brand loyalist… not because of the hype, but because of the horsepower. I’m not a tech guy, but the Apple geniuses knew how to make things I could figure out without reading a manual. Today, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPhone 4, iPod, iPod Shuffle, iPad are all in my tool box. In the event of a fire at home, I’d grab my Apple crate (all of the best of the family pics are on the laptop and iPad!)…
So, how do I let the passing of Steve Jobs go unaddressed? If I said nothing, I would be in the publishing minority this week. Vantage points vary, but inclusion has been certain, in newspapers, weekly news mags, monthly cultural journals, world business periodicals; the scope of Jobs’ impact on international culture has been measured by the widespread treatment of his death. For a man who fiercely controlled the press’ access to his personal life, that strong fist ended with his last breath. Steve Jobs, the man beyond the headlines, has been reconstructed for public view as the reporting community connected the minimal dots of his life beyond the corporate boundaries.
You’ve read – and, reread – the essence. Conceived out-of-wedlock by graduate students in San Francisco, he was adopted when his mother’s father opposed her marriage to his Syrian father (they later married). He was raised by Paul and Clara Jobs – his adoptive parents – in the area now known as Silicon Valley. He was baptized and confirmed as a Lutheran, stayed in school through one semester of Reed College in Portland… and then set off to find his future.
In the ‘70’s, he traveled to India with a college friend to visit the ashram of Shri Neeb Karori Baba – a Hindu mystic – and came back to America as a Buddhist, with a shaved head and an Indian wardrobe. In 1975, he and Steve Wozniak – his Apple co-founder – joined the Homebrew Computer Club, an outpost for electronics geeks. One year later, they launched Apple… and the rest is history.
I was in-flight from Minneapolis to Dallas last Wednesday afternoon – using gogo wireless, at 39,000 feet – when the first push message hit my screen: Steve Jobs, dead at age 56.
The media coverage has been monumental. Everything they could find to say has been reported and repeated from myriad perspectives. There is massive agreement regarding where he has traveled during those 56 years, and the impact his technical and commercial genius has left on us all. But missing from all of the articles is any discussion regarding where he is today… and where he’ll be tomorrow, and the next day, and the next… and the next… and the next…
His widely-quoted commencement address at Stanford – back in June of 2005 – shared his philosophy of life, and his attitude toward death. He “inspired” the graduates to find and live their uniqueness, with no recognition of the Genius who made them to be unique. Where is Steve, now?
The truth: I don’t know, but I know what the two possibilities are. He is either alive in the presence of the God of Heaven, made possible by personally embracing Jesus as his Savior, or he is in a place awaiting the Judgment, in the presence of people like the Rich Man (of “the rich man and Lazarus” fame). There is no third option regarding his – or, anyone’s – current reality, beyond this life.
If Jobs gave an interview today – from either place – he would recast his commencement speech. “Plan beyond your death… and then – and, only then – live out your uniqueness, to the glory of God.”