doing what you love

3 Lessons from the Life of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple passed away this week. His worldwide impact as a computer entrepreneur and innovator is well documented. As a corporate leader he was admired not only for his genius but also for his determination in the face of the adversity that marked his life.

Yesterday, my intrigue about his life caused me to stumble onto an online video of a Stanford University commencement address he gave in 2005, following his first bout with the cancer that eventually took his life. In that address, Steve told three stories from his personal life while extracting three overarching principles that guided his life. Although in the past I had heard and seen references to that address, I had never sat down and watched it from start to finish.

It was short, all of about fifteen minutes, but it blew my socks off. And here is why. This side of heaven, we do not have any indication Steve was a Christian and whatever religious leanings he had are tied to Zen Buddhism. However, the things that Steve conveyed are truths that could have been lifted from the pages of the Bible. God is obviously the author of truth and examining Steve’s address from a Christian perspective is instructive. As I listened, I could not help but acknowledge that the power and conviction of such a message should be on the lips and demonstrated in the life of every Christian.

Now it is important to interject that these life principles, embraced apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ lack His resurrection power and promised redemption. But viewed from a Christian perspective and tied to New Testament “Life” principles these truths are the doorway to discovering and fulfilling God’s eternal purposes for our lives.

And so here are the three Christianized lessons from the life of Steve Jobs.

Taking a different track to success

“Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it!” Jeremiah 45:5 (NLT)

Any advice against the pursuit of success is wise counsel. But it is seldom understood by those who aspire to it. These prophetic words from the mouth of Jeremiah to his secretary Baruch are not the kind of words an aspiring assistant wants to hear – nor anyone, for that matter. You will not find this verse highlighted in anyone’s Bible with a date written next to it claimed as a promise from God.

Advice like this is counter intuitive to those of us raised in an “anything is possible,” culture. When I hear a 15 year old contestant on American Idol say “This is my dream, I’ve been working toward this all my life!” I realize that “working” and “all my life” are relative terms. And such “dreams” in our culture-of-success mentality beg for an instant gratification not unlike that of winning a lottery.

Baruch was a godly man who shared Jeremiah’s grief over the backslidden state of the nation. He knew of God’s impending judgments on Jerusalem. Jeremiah assured him that simply escaping with his life from the coming disaster was promise enough and a sign of God’s love for him.

But what about Baruch’s dreams, his aspirations? After all, his brother Seraiah had attained an important position in the court of the ruling king. Why couldn’t Baruch have his day in the sun as well? But God’s watchful care for Baruch wanted to spare

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