Those were the words of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, who died yesterday at the age of 56 from pancreatic cancer. But what does this mean in practice?
Born in San Francisco, Jobs spent just one term at college, before dropping out to go on a retreat to India. It was to fund this trip that he took his first computer job. In 1976, he founded Apple with Steve Wozniak. He left in 1985 over a management dispute, but later returned as CEO.
Jobs’ innovative approach inspired not only commerical success, but fierce loyalty amongst his team. His impact on modern culture has been enormous and for many, he was the epitome of success. Yet despite his talent, charisma and wealth, he died just six weeks after quitting the business that made him famous. Jobs said that he wanted to ‘make a dent on the universe’ – and in earthly terms, he seems to have done so. In his life there is much to admire. But is even this enough? Years from now, how will Jobs be remembered? As a computer visionary? A loving husband? A son? Will he be remembered at all? Will any of us?
Death is a great leveller. It ends even the most glorious stories and severs the most loving relationships. At the mouth of Sheol, our achievements turn to dust. But despite appearances, this is not the end. Instead the gospel points us to One who is greater than the grave, One who swallows up Death itself. In Christ, this terrible enemy has been defeated. For the believer, death is not the end. In some ways, it’s a beginning.
As Psalm 103 reminds us,
‘ As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. BUT from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts’.
‘No one wants to die…time is limited, so don’t waste it’.