I have been struck by the recent commentary concerning the death of Apple founder, Steve Jobs. Most of the commentary I have read affirmed the tragic nature of his death and the amazing manner in which this man, through his genius, changed the world in which we live. Even more interesting to me, as a Christian, was the response of other Christians to Mr. Jobs’ death. What I observed even among professing Christians was an almost cult-like following and admiration for Mr. Jobs. I got the sense that such admiration reached an almost feverish level as the stories of Mr. Jobs’ death and contributions circulated throughout the virtual, electronic world of sites, blogs, and social media forums. Yet, as a Christian, such fervor struck me as odd.
So what struck me as odd? Well it was the level of fervor and credit given to Mr. Jobs for changing the life of mankind. It certainly appeared to me that our culture simply took Mr. Jobs’ accomplishments and inventions, as great as they were, and made a messiah of him and idols of them. Now before I go any further, and folks start sending nasty responses, let me say my comments are less about Mr. Jobs and more about us as a culture. They are about what we have done in this situation. Any loss of life, particularly the manner in which Mr. Jobs lost his, is tragic and sad. Mr. Jobs was a child of the Most High God and was created in His image, thus his life had immeasurable value because of that fact. I have great sympathy and hope that his friends and family find the peace that only Christ can offer as they deal with their loss. I also give Mr. Jobs great credit for his amazing abilities and knowledge that have given us inventions and technology that have made our lives easier. I don’t make the comments concerning messiahship and idolatry to beat up on Mr. Jobs, but simply as a conclusion drawn after reading and thinking about the responses I read concerning this matter. My comments are an analysis of the cultural response to his death and whether such is flawed.
What I saw in the days after his death was a willingness, even by Christians, to allow his death to loom like a black cloud over us. Everywhere I looked folks were sad and hopeless because of his death. There was a sense that because Mr. Jobs died all hope and progress died with him. For days, I observed how folks simply celebrated his greatness and abilities. Many gave the impression that such greatness and ability had changed the life of mankind forever. The sense was that life was never going be the same for mankind after experiencing this loss. It was as if his ability and the inventions derived from such had dramatically changed the hearts and mind of man. It was as if Steve Jobs had dramatically changed the essence of man and through such, man had somehow found salvation.
However, I think the response is mistaken. As great as a technological genius as he was, and as much as his inventions made our lives better and improved the manner in which we communicate, Steve Job did not change the nature of man or his fallen predicament and did nothing to provide man with the salvation which we all so desperately need. Man has the same heart problem he has since the fall. Man’s essence and predicament was not changed by the I-Phone, the I-Pad or any other of Mr. Jobs’ inventions. Yet most people responded as if his genius and inventions had done just that. Even Christians responded to his death as if the things he invented had a deep and lasting effect on their lives by changing their hearts and predicament, and they wasted no time taking to all media to express this feeling.
Such actions, especially by Christians, have left me wondering why we respond with such committed fervor testifying, shouting, and preaching on every medium to anyone who would listen about the ability of the I-Phone to change man’s status. Yet when it comes to proclaiming the reality of Christ to change man’s heart and solve his predicament, such fervor, commitment, preaching, shouting, and testimony can scarcely be heard or found. We are quick to extol the virtue and life changing effects of a brilliant inventor and the material things his brilliance produced. We look at those material things, and we make them our idols testifying to their life changing effects on us and all mankind, yet we fail to realize at the end of the day deep within ourselves, we are still as depraved as we were before we got our I-Phones. Now we are just technologically depraved people. Yet in the midst of this, the death and resurrection of Christ and what this means for mankind is not even being thought about or getting a hearing.
Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, came to earth and became the God-man for the sole purpose of saving man from his predicament. As a result man, by grace through faith, was justified and saved from the death that awaited him because of sin. Those who believe become new creations in Christ and their hearts and outlook are forever changed. Those in Christ are sanctified, becoming more like Christ as they live lives in Christ. Life has purpose and meaning. There is hope that there is more to our lives than matter in motion. We understand that we were created by God for a specific purpose. It is Christ who offers something that changes the human condition. It is Christ who changes man’s status and his very essence. It is Christ, the Messiah, who changes the human heart. Yet it is the I-Phone inventor who we testify about rather than Christ. We celebrate material things, calling them life changing, placing our worship, admiration and trust in the things that will ultimately pass away. We trade and celebrate the real changing power of Christ for the temporary, finite, and ultimately the shallow things of the human inventor. We trade the life-changing for the something that changes nothing of real value for mankind. Such will lead us to hopelessness and the pursuit of newer and better things in an effort to find the deep contentment we all desire.
It is time for us to wake up and understand that regardless of how many things Mr. Jobs or any other inventor develops those things will neither solve man’s heart problem nor provide us the hope and change we long for in our inner most souls. Instead of celebrating and making the inventor our messiah and his inventions our idols, we should instead understand that true change comes only through Christ and that is what we should be fervently shouting, testifying to, and advocating on our media.