Steve Jobs: Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die.

by · October 6, 2011

As we remember Steve Jobs for his contributions to the world I can’t help but feel that something huge is missing.  Did Jobs waste his life?  Now, this question might seem tasteless and completely absurd in light of his accomplishments.  I use and love many of the gadgets Apple created and am not trying to say they aren’t important or valuable to society as a whole.  What I am trying to say is that in the Kingdom-minded perspective of eternity my iPhone & Macbook Pro mean absolutely nothing.

I was saddened to hear the news of Steve’s passing, and even sadder when I watched the segment of a graduation commencement speech he gave (included below) where he made the comment that “… even people that want to go to heaven don’t want to die.” My assumption is that he did not get that idea from David Crowder.  Steve was a practicing Buddhist. He was also viewed as a tyrant, a ruthless dictator and a man so obsessed with perfection that his employees routinely worked nights and weekends – some engineers reporting that they were estranged from their families.

Now, I don’t know anything about Steve’s heart and almost nothing about his personal life. I am certainly in no place to judge or look down upon him for anything as we are all equally sinful.  But, it is important, I think, as a Christian to recognize that when Steve stands before God that no amazing gadget, no record breaking iPod sales, no culture shift in the way we listen to music and yes, even no iPhone invention will justify him before a perfect and holy God.

For me it’s important to recognize this not in just Steve but in many of the leaders, inventors, musicians and other contributors to the world.  The question, “Yes, but how did they live in lieu of the Cross?” helps give a bit of perspective. Maybe this question is old, irritating and even tired to some, but, truth has a nagging way of being redundant, and we can become desensitized to it.

I personally will miss the excitement and incredible ideas that Steve brought to Apple and other companies. Suffice it to say that his inventions have changed the way we live, communicate, interact, and I believe because of this the gospel is more accessible than any other time in history.  But, Steve is someone I respectfully refuse to imitate.  There are qualities of many people, Christian or not, that I admire and try to learn from and incorporate.  But, ultimately, it’s the cross that matters, not my qualities.

Again, please do not read this post as a judgment or in any way trying to take away the incredible technological accomplishments that Steve made. This is simply a reminder to myself that in the perspective of eternity this life is less than a heartbeat.

  • Nick Asolas

    “He was also viewed as a tyrant, a ruthless dictator and a man so obsessed with perfection that his employees routinely worked nights and weekends – some engineers reporting that they were estranged from their families.”
    sadly, I think the same can be said for too many pastors and church leaders. but that is whole other post.

  • Keith Brown

    Great post Brian…I was thinking something very similar this morning while reading some of the posts and video clips on other sites.

  • Anonymous

    I was saddened when I heard that Steve Jobs has died.  He left such an incredible legacy with all of his accomplishments. I do hope that he came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior before he passed.  My story on how I came to know HIM http://www.everystudent.com/mypage/jimknight

  • russ rentler

    “Now, I don’t know anything about Steve’s heart and almost nothing about
    his personal life. I am certainly in no place to judge or look down upon
    him for anything as we are all equally sinful.”
    But I think you just did Brian.  Were you in his heart and mind the last few weeks of death, the last few days, the last few hours, the last few moments?  Are you in a place where you can judge his salvation?
    Do you know what he may have been thinking at the moments of death? There is a merciful savior who upon the cross looked to his right and granted eternity to a man who no doubt was much more evil in his life than steve jobs. Until you are at Jesus right hand, it is inappropriate for you to make any comments regarding the state of the soul of one who is passed. We entrust them to God’s mercy and quiet ourselves from making such statements.

  • http://twitter.com/brianckaufman Brian Kaufman

    That’s true Russ. My point in that paragraph was less about Steve and more about faith apart from works, which, I believe is a right and Biblical point. In no way is this a “Steve is in hell.” post. 

  • russ rentler

    “The question, “Yes, but how did they live in lieu of the Cross?”” makes me think Brian that at some level you think that works have some role in salvation. Otherwise why would you make the comment about how he lived in lieu of the cross?  If faith alone is all that is needed, why  should how he lived in “lieu of the cross “make any difference?

  • http://twitter.com/brianckaufman Brian Kaufman

    Russ, that statement was made to compliment the second sentence in this post, and ultimately the question I was hoping people would think deeply about, “Did Jobs waste his life?” Thanks for the comments. I appreciate your perspective!

  • http://www.shrinkthechurch.com SHRINK the church

    You should write that post. :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NO77VW6DKWXWUXJRPRDXPEDVJA SZ

    The passing of Steve Jobs reminded me of Ecclesiastes and King Solomon who had everything this world could offer, including a thousand wives. He was also the billionaire of ancient days, yet he described all he had and all he did as Meaningless! Meaningless! ( various bible translations say: “Vanity all is Vanity”) in  Ecclesiastes 1:2.
    In Ecclesiastes 1:14 Solomon continued on to say “I have seen all things that are done under the sun, all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

    At the end of our journey what can we take into eternity?? As a Christian I believe we will only have in Heaven (from what we had from our lives on earth with us) the souls we won to Christ, not our gadgets and ipods. Solomon in all his wisdom and material pleasures was lured him away from God, not toward Him. That’s something Prosperity Preachers may want to think about.

    No disrespect but since I believe the soul survives physical death, my question of the day is, right now what does Steve Job’s inventions mean to him and where he is spending eternity?

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.thornton.946 Matthew Thornton

    he had a very strong analytical brain with limited empathy for people who didn’t want to ask why not instead of why