The death of a brilliant man (or woman) is always a difficult pill to swallow. For many, Steve Jobs changed the way they viewed life; for others, he changed the way they interacted with it. The man made amazing and beautiful things. He gave us the first fully computer animated feature film (Toy Story). His ideas have shaped the way we interact with our world and with one another. But the man, any man, is more than simply the sum of all his accomplishments, “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” – (Luke 12:15)
I don’t want to be insensitive to the grief that so many people feel over the death of Steve Jobs. Their pain is real and his death is truly a loss. But for those of you who are still reading I simply want to suggest that our grief and compassion is incomplete, even shallow, if it only focuses on the treasures that rust and not on the state of a man’s soul before God. Jared Wilson’s thoughts on this are sober and helpful…
It is a hollow compassion to mourn the loss of a man’s products and creativity and set aside the potential loss of his soul as not as important, even if what we just mean is that it’s not as important at this time. Nobody I have seen is denying Jobs incredible impact and artistry. But Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:26 point us in the direction of greater grief, deeper grief.
A grief that mourns the loss of a man’s worldly accomplishments but feels no anxiety for his eternal destiny is upside down. A man’s worth lay not in his achievements or success but in his being made in the image of God. Setting aside for the moment the state of Jobs’s eternal destiny — because none of us can really know for sure — let us just be real about what is at stake in this life. It’s not fame and renown, it’s not the fulfillment of our gifts and talents, it’s not the altruistic good we can do our fellow man — it is eternal life and eternal death. All else is treasure that rusts.