Steve Jobs And Eternity

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. Luke 16:22-23

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs is estimated to be worth about 6 billion US dollars. This makes him one of the richest people in the world. Jobs is the co-founder of both Apple and Pixar (the studio who brought us the Toy Story movies) and, as a result of the latter, The Walt Disney’s Company’s largest single shareholder. He has (quite understandably) been named the CEO of the decade by Fortune Magazine.

A truly successful man by all measures. And enviable. In a 2009 survey he was selected the most admired entrepreneur among teenagers. Everybody wants to be like Steve, it seems.

Until now. Jobs announced this week he is resigning as CEO from his company, and the reasons are well known. He has been battling with pancreatic cancer for some time. The announcement caused Apple stocks to plummet and many to wonder if his successor will be able to fill his shoes.

In the face of death we have a tendency to reevaluate things. I suspect Steve would be happy to rid himself of all his possessions (and fame) if he could be given immortality in return. The point is: If he fails to find it, then in the bigger scheme of things, the one who does find it will be a much greater success than he, even if such a one has lived his or her earthly life as a beggar in the slums of Calcutta.

That is exactly the point of Christ’s well known story from which the above verses come. And it raises a question: How do you define success?

(This is an update of a column that appeared in Bloemnews earlier this year when Steve Jobs took indefinite medical leave)