What's in a life? A man is born and he lives out his days, and then he dies. Solomon pondered such things. "What advantage does a man have in all his work which he does under the sun? A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever" (Ecclesiastes 1:4-5). With a cynical heart he concludes: "I have seen all the works that have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after the wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
As I consider the life of Steve Jobs I'm not quite so cynical. Born February 24, 1955, he died on October 5, 2011. What can be said of his 56 years? Surely under his oversight Apple Inc. developed technologies that have transformed the world. Besides the Apple/Mac Computer, the iPod and iTunes changed the way we listen to music, and in 2007 the iPhone swept onto the scene with technology that changed the way we connect with the world. In addition, his involvement with Pixar changed the way we view animation. The effect a single life can have upon the world can be enormous.
But we must never forget the source of all things. God raises up and brings down. Every invention, every idea is governed by His infinite wisdom and sovereign reign. All wealth is distributed by God. Steve Jobs was what he was by the sovereign hand of God. Every dollar of his $8.3 billion in net worth was by God's design. "The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts" (1 Samuel 2:6-7). In the end every man will stand before God to give account. At that time things become very simple. We will either stand before Him in our sin and declared guilty and condemned or will we stand before Him in Christ with our sins forgiven and covered by a righteousness not our own. Most know Steve Jobs was a Buddhist. Perhaps a devout Buddhist. Perhaps a sincere Buddhist. But without Christ there is no way to deal with the issue of his sin. In the end no amount of wealth will serve as a substitute for Christ. "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul" (Matthew 16:26). Perhaps Solomon was not so cynical after all.