What Are We Saying

Steve Jobs died.

I’m not an iPod, -Pad, or -Phone person, but I’ve used Macs ever since the little SE30 came out, before they put the i in front of the name.

I consider Steve Jobs to have been a genius, a techno and marketing genius. Whether we realize it or not, he revolutionized the way we live. His inventions changed our lives as much as Henry Ford’s did a century earlier.

But he died young.

And although people praise him for his work, I’ve heard little about his family and nothing about his faith.

All this makes me think about how fleeting life is.

At ninety-two Andy Rooney finally stepped down from Sixty Minutes, and in his final show said how short life is, how he doesn’t want it to end, and he wishes he could keep doing what he’s doing. But he can’t.

Those two men are well-liked it seems, and people for the most part say nice things about them. But two other men who’s lives are also fleeting receive regular ridicule. I’m thinking of Pat Robertson and Harold Camping, but I suspect I could have named a half dozen others and would not have exhausted the names that came to the minds of different readers.

Eighty-nine year old Harold Camping was vilified — by talk show hosts and Christians alike — for his false prophecy about the end of the world. Soon after, he had a mild stroke and has been in a nursing home until recently. Apparently his recovery allows him to hold onto his new prediction that the world will end (or finish ending) October 21.

About Pat Robertson, one Christian blogger said, “He’s an idiot,” a reaction to Robertson’s recent unbiblical statements (since retracted) about divorce.

Much loved or much hated, these four are mere men with fleeting lives. They will much sooner than we realize come into the presence of their Maker and ours. And how will we answer for what we said about them?

Don’t speak ill of the dead, the proverb says. Speaking ill of them after they’re gone doesn’t hurt them. And praising them as the world is doing with Steve Jobs doesn’t help them. They’re gone. We either used the brief time we shared with them here on earth to bless them or to curse them.

But someone may well point out that some things, some people don’t deserve to be blessed. Actually that isn’t true. None of us deserves to be blessed. If someone thinks we do, it’s because they don’t know the parts of us that reveal our sin nature. They don’t realize that the good they see wasn’t something we manufactured but rather the result of God’s magnificent creative power and astounding grace.

So we don’t remember our own sin and we don’t give God the credit He’s due; therefore, we feel superior enough to (publicly, no less) call someone else an idiot. Why, I wonder, do we Christians think this is OK?

God’s pretty clear about the fact that it isn’t.

With [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. (James 3:9-10)

Published in: on October 6, 2011 at 5:51 pm  Comments (8)  
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  1. Nicely done and right on target! Amen and amen.


  2. Yesterday, I read an article saying that Steve Jobs, although not devout, was a Buddhist. He left college to (I think to China) discover himself through transcendental meditation. It said that many of the designs for his products were influenced by his leaning toward minimalist design. He and his wife was married by a Buddhist monk. We can only hope he met Christ before he died.


  3. Becky, plain speech, well done.


  4. A good article that is really relevant in this barbaric age of lost civility and sharp tongues. Flick on the TV at any time and it’s not hard to find put-down presented as funny or cute.


  5. Sometimes, though, I think our unspoken words can mean just as much as what we actually say.


  6. Yes, everyone, as Andy said, we live in a barbaric age of lost civility. We Christians reflect this age at times, instead of shining as stars in the dark heavens. Speaking evil about others, or mocking them, is terribly wrong, and we do it, sometimes as much as the unbelieving. We spew hatred against those in power, forward e-mails with mocking cartoons, neglect to pray for those people. We should be praying especially for the President. This is God’s way, His command.


  7. As usual, Becky, you make me think. I know very little about any of the men you mentioned but someone I read did say the Steve Jobs said he already felt ‘bare’ as he’d lived with cancer for years and just went on doing what he could. Maybe he was quiet about his inner beliefs.God knows and that’s what matters. A friend just died after living with cancer for eleven years. She was a faithful Mennonite Cristian who was often joyous and who sought to help in volunteer projects as long as she could. James would have been pleased with her; She lived her faith and witnessed to others that way .


  8. I saw your comment on my blog and had to come over and see your take on Jobs death. Very well written! Your thoughts are insightful and spot on. Amazing that we both focused on the fleeting nature of life, when every other story that I have seen about Jobs focused on his achievements. Shall we say, “great minds…?”


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