What Will You Do With Your Life?

By Greg Quinn

October 6th, 2011

Yesterday, we lost a man with an infectious vision.  A man of inspiration.  A man whose ideas and passion changed a technology, and the way in which many in the world live today.  He has been called the Einstein of our generation.  He has been referred to as a genius.  His name was Steve Jobs.

Steve was the heartbeat behind Apple Computer.  He started the business with a friend of his in a garage in California some 4 decades ago.  He wanted to bring computers to every person in the world.  He wanted machinery to be able to emulate life.  He worked tirelessly in the accomplishment of these goals, and his life was dedicated to his passionate pursuit of excellence in the advancement of computer technology in order to benefit others.  When you see the advances in cellular phones, it is because of Steve Jobs.  When you are viewing this article on your computer, the technology of your computer is due to the advancements designed by Steve Jobs.  When you watch “Toy Story” and other Pixar animated movies, they happened due to the capabilities and passion of Steve Jobs.  Bright computer screens, small computer sizes, touchscreens, computer animation in movies, and the computer mouse, generated from the mind of Jobs.  No doubt his brilliance has impacted much of the world as we know it today, and his ideas will continue to resonate through advances to his technology for generations to come.

I first got associated with the technology of Steve Jobs and his company, Apple Computer, many years ago.  It was the mid-80s and I was working on my first NASA project.  Within my first week on the job, after orientation and finding my cubicle, the Information Technology department delivered to my small workspace a small cube-like device, something that resembled a white toaster, with a small monochrome screen and a 5 and 1/4 inch slot, small keyboard, and a white wire connecting to a small oval device called a “mouse”.  This was the mid-80’s, the “toaster” device was the first generation Macintosh computer, and my life and the manner in which I accomplished my work changed that day.  Gone were the punch-card computer systems, gone were the large mainframes required for daily processing.   All this was replaced by this little “Toaster Mac” we called it. Gone were the function commands, and instead this little “mouse” took moves from my hand to moves on this small computer screen.  The computing world changed, the manner in which technical work was to be done changed, and I was there to witness it in its beginning.  Several years later, these “toaster Mac’s” were replaced by larger, clunky PC’s and first generation Microsoft operating systems.  Somewhere in a NASA computer graveyard are thousands of the small “toaster Mac’s” with claw marks down the side, as we reluctantly gave up these wonderful devices, replaced with the PC’s and the Windows operating system that we learned to loathe.  Years later, I converted back to Apple computers, and I have been using Mac’s again exclusively for some 5 years again now.  I have an iMac in my office, I use an older PowerMac as a server, I carry a MacBook Pro whenever I travel for business, and I stay connected to the world through my iPhone.  I, like millions of others, have embraced the technology that generated from the mind of a college dropout, a mind that saw things as they could be instead of how they are, a mind that understood that commitment and passion could produce great results, the mind of Steve Jobs. 

Steve Jobs is a great example of how an ordinary man, yet a man of intelligence, vision, and passion, could follow his dream to change the world.  He had no college education, yet some of the most educated minds in the world couldn’t keep up with his vision.  He wasn’t born from wealth, yet he created from humble beginnings one of the largest companies in the information technology world, and created a vast empire of wealth for himself and many others.  Steve followed his dream, and changed the world.

In all of his earthly greatness, Steve Jobs was a professing Buddhist.   He didn’t accept the promises of God as recorded in the Bible, the promises that only exist to those that follow Jesus Christ.  I’m not judging or condemning Steve Jobs, as I admire the man and his contributions to society.  Yet, how much more could he have done had he been a follower of Christ?  And how great could have been his rewards in the afterlife had he taken his intellect, genius, and passion and helped others even more through the knowledge of God and leadership of the Holy Spirit? 

Steve Jobs was a great man and his legacy will live on.  Yet as far as we know, he died without knowing Christ, and if so, is today suffering the penalty for this decision.  We, as followers of Jesus, have greater opportunities.  How can we take what we have been given and use it for the betterment of society, as Steve Jobs did?  How can we utilize the knowledge we have to help others?  How can we work tirelessly in our profession to make a difference in the lives of others, as Mr. Jobs did?  How can we become so passionate about what we believe that this passion overflows onto others, and the world is changed because of it?  Steve Jobs took an earthly passion, a passion for technology, and pursued it vigorously to change the world for the better.  We, having a heavenly passion, a passion instilled of God regarding the truth of man and the benefits of serving God through his Son Jesus Christ, have so much greater of an opportunity.  But, what do we do with it?

God is no respecter of persons.  He gives all of us the seeds of greatness within us.  Few, however, cultivate these seeds, water them, weed them, and allow them to grow.  Steve Jobs was a man who took what he was given and utilized it to the maximum.  Most of us, although we too have been given much, choose not to do so.  Instead of following our dream, we watch on the sidelines the dreams of others.  Instead of pursuing and changing reality, we get consumed with frivolous living and engorged with entertainment.  Instead of tirelessly working with what we have been given, we grow fat and lazy and never accomplish the potential God has put within us.  Steve Jobs is an example of a man who followed his dream, and in doing so, helped make the world a better place.  Yet, Steve Jobs left this world incomplete, and in all his knowledge forsook the supreme knowledge of God, and today is paying the price for this error.  You, as a child of God, have the opportunity to do great things, yet many choose to do otherwise.

Steve Jobs accomplished much in this life but, according to the Bible, has no rewards in life eternal.  Most of the rest of us will go through this life with little significant accomplishments here, yet will live the promises of God in life eternal because we accepted the free gift of life through Jesus Christ.  It’s sad on both counts.

The challenge to us who are believers is this.  Recognizing that we who have accepted the truth of the Bible and who are therefore children of God through Jesus Christ have been given a significant advantage, we should do something with this advantage.  We know what life will be like for us in eternity, a life with God in Heaven, of peace, with no pain, and full of rewards in the afterlife for what we do here on earth.  So, armed with the knowledge of our future, why don’t we make more of our present?  With the knowledge of eternity, why cannot we live our lives on earth today with more passion, diligence, integrity, and service to others?  If we recognize that the rewards we are promised in Heaven are tied to our performance on Earth, why do we not follow the example of men like Steve Jobs and make our life here count?  I heard a wise man say once, “I’d rather go into the afterlife by burning the candle at both ends than by dying with some candle left over.” 

So, what will you do with your life?  Steve Jobs was a great man who lived for some 56 years, but he was a man who lived and died and was buried.  As a follower of Christ, you will one day also die, but because of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for you on the cross, you are promised life for eternity with God in Heaven.  Death is not the end, but a wonderful new beginning.  With that understanding, why not do more with your life here today?

In our lifetime, we will likely see few who accomplish as much on earth as Steve Jobs.  Or will we?  It’s up to us.  There are opportunities in abundance, and God made each of us great in our own ways.  Who knows that someone reading this article will one day be just as significant in their lifetime as Mr. Jobs was in his?  And, isn’t it true that the accomplishments that really count are those you do for God, those for which you will be rewarded in Heaven?  You are therefore great if you take care of widows or orphans.  You are great if you help another person through a time of difficulty.  You are great if you share the love of Christ with your friends and family and even strangers.  And you are great if you take the passion that God has stirred within you, combined with the abilities of which you have been bestowed, and use these talents with this passion and dedication for the betterment of mankind, and for the glory of God.

What will you do with your life?  History will record many great men and women on earth.  Steve Jobs will be one of them.  But the greatest history books in Heaven will record what you do today, and tomorrow, for God and for others.  You too can live a life of significance.  You must only choose to do so, use what God has given you, and pursue your calling with a passion.

You too can be great.  Your greatness may be in becoming a better mother or father to your children.  Your greatness may be giving that homeless man $10 for a good hot meal.  Your greatness may be being honest on your English exam, or treating your girlfriend with respect, or being unselfish in your dealings with your siblings and parents.  Your greatness may be in becoming the very best you can be in your job or profession.  Your greatness may be in keeping a good attitude when problems arise, or in being a voice of reason in a land of lies, or in comforting another in a time of loss.  Your greatness may be measured not in what you do for yourself, but in what you do for others.  Your greatness will in fact be measured in what you do for God.

Choose today to be great.  Choose today to follow your dreams, but use Godly wisdom in doing so.  Choose today to become the best you can be with whatever you endeavor to do on earth.  But, as some have done, do not become so great on earth that you forsake your life eternal, and always recognize that what you have and who you are is because of the graciousness of a loving God.  You are great because you serve a great God, and will receive the promises of God through your relationship with his Son Jesus.  With this advantage, decide today, and every tomorrow, to use that day to be your best.

What will you do with your life?  Make it count.

Greg Quinn