I was thinking about Steve Jobs of Apple today as I sit here typing on my MacBook Pro… (Yes that was a shameless laptop namedrop). Jobs was brilliant, a rare modern-day genius in my opinion, as he was able to combine tech savvy with an uncanny understanding of the culture and the consumer.
Jobs himself was an enigma. He had humble beginnings. The story as I understand it, is that he was given up for adoption by his college age unwed mother and the first family in line chose to pass on him, because he was not a girl. The Jobs’, his adoptive parents had no idea what they in for.
Jobs’ as the famous story goes was a college drop out who founded Apple in his garage with a college buddy. Some years later, after good but not world shattering success, Jobs was driven out of Apple leadership.
When he returned for his second stint as “CEO” everything changed, and the rest, as they say, is history. The world enjoyed things like The Mac revolution, the iPod in all its varieties, Pixar (upon his death Jobs personally owned around 7% of Disney as I hear it due to his sell of Pixar back to Disney), The iPhone, iTunes, and iPad and well… we could go on and on.
Years ago Jobs’ was diagnosed with a rare form of Pancreatic Cancer. He made a brilliant speech to the graduating students of Stanford University, explaining how coming face to face with death had dramatically stripped him of pretense and pride and changed him… in some ways for the better.
I am told that at his death, Jobs’ was worth around $8.3 Billion.
The last week I have been feeling pretty miserable, physically. Some kind of change of season crud, or allergies… don’t really know. But I have a lousy, almost non-existent health plan, so I rarely go to the Dr. for such things… just try to wait and sweat them out. O yes, and I grumble about my lousy health plan… Then I heard about Steve Jobs’ death. He was only 56 and needless to say, did not have to worry about inadequate health coverage.
I suppose you could draw a lot of various conclusions from this little passing observation I am writing about today… but here is how it all struck me. We should all learn to face our mortality. It might change us for the better. Solomon spoke in Ecclesiastes 7:2 about it being better to go to a place of death (“house of mourning”), than a house of feasting. His point seems to be that since all of us must deal with death eventually, and we are all headed to a house of mourning sooner or later, we should embrace this little needed reality check… and the perspective it can bring us to face the truth of earthly life… it ends in death.
Our culture’s morbid fear of this taboo topic has not done us any favors. Job’s was right, as usual in what he told the folks at Stanford… Our impending death should focus, sober, and “inspire” us the way it did him! But since we are rarely willing to face such thoughts until it is too late, do we lose out on a lot of good inspiration? I am guessing yes.
It would also be worth noting that if $8.3 Billion could not buy Steve Jobs more than 56 years, maybe people like me should quit fretting over the limits of my health plan and learn the real lesson here. Every day I live is a gift from God. It is precious, and I had no right or privilege to this day, or this air I breath, or the ground I walk on… these were simply gifts that an unexplainably loving God chose to give me today.
Dear God, “Thank you for my life!”
And the truth shall set you free…