Honestly I was somewhat intrigued by all the publicity and emotion tied up with the death of Steve Jobs this past week. I mean I know who the guy was and what he did; I just didn’t realize the size of his impact. You’d think an American President had died or something. But on the other hand, it appears that the long term influence of Jobs on the world through technological and cultural relevance may in fact carry more weight than any of our US Presidents in recent history. I called one of my good friends back in Nor Cal this evening to get his skinny on the events as he works for Apple and he confirmed everything I’ve read in the Wall Street journal and other sources. The atmosphere around where my friend works is apparently just as somber as any other Apple center or Apple store from San Francisco, to New York, to Tokyo. Indeed, Steve Jobs was a visionary of mammoth proportions. I like that kind of spirit. Vision is something America has been known for in the past and we certainly could use more of it now. But there are some other things I believe we can pick up from the loss of this great technology and cultural patriarch. I believe there are some quick lessons we can learn from Jobs for Kingdom and Church leaders today. Here are 5 fast ones just off the top of my head. What would you add?
The vision of Jobs has affected all of us. He was not out just to make a buck, but to change the way life is done and he succeeded. I can travel just about anywhere in the world today and connect with my wife and kids before bed time through tech and that’s because of the vision of Steve Jobs and guys like him. Our God is a creative and visionary God. The creation is testimony of God’s vision and we as His children are endowed with at least some of that entrepreneurial spirit. Are there God given ideas pent up within you that have been forgotten or lay dormant? Why not dig those dreams up and take another stab at them. The book, Visioneering by Andy Stanly is a great resource on this.
One thing that interested me about Jobs was not just his visionary creativity, but his ability to lead the corporate side of Apple as well. Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal noted that Jobs did “what a CEO should. He hired and inspired great people; managed for the long term, not the quarter or short-term stock price; made big bets and took big risks . . .” I would say that this is one thing that is sorely needed in many struggling churches today. We need men and women who treat kingdom work like the eternal thing it is and not just another hobby to pass the time with on a weekends. We need leaders who will lead. This principle is not reserved for the Church, but for every aspect of life. Do you see a need in your sphere of influence wherever that is? Why not take a step out of the comfort zone today and take someone with you?
Jobs noted in 2005 that “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” This reminds me of the occasion in John 9 where Jesus taught that we must do the work God has given us while we have the time to do it. What projects are you putting off for ‘another day’ which may or may not come?
Jobs was actually pushed out of Apple in 1985. However, 11 years later, Steve came back as Apple was crumbling and turned the company around to become the giant it is today producing some $65.2 billion annually. Depending on how you count things, I’ve read that Lincoln experienced somewhere between 10 to 16 major upsets in his life before becoming president of the United States. From Jobs, we can learn to fix our eyes on the finish line and never give up. Is there a saddle you need to get back into and keep riding to the end? Note also Philippians 3:13-14
Plain and simple; Steve Jobs just died. Yes, this is similar to point three. But the emphasis here is on the spiritual outcome or eternal fruit of a life. I don’t know where Steve stood with God in his final moments on this earth, but it does raise the question of what we’re investing for. I can’t imagine how much cash Steve died with, but none of that will do him any good in eternity. Our mortality is a reminder to us that we must invest in the Kingdom of God now because things of this world will ultimately pass away. Now is the time; what are you investing in?