Posted by: Tim | October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs: “Remembering that you are going to die…”

In a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, Steve Jobs said:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life”

“Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.

You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

(Source: National Post/Financial Post)

Steve Jobs’ business accomplishments show that he meant it. Think of all he achieved as CEO of Apple during the past six  years while he fought cancer, changing the way we live and communicate with an amazing drive and creative flair! I’m no Mac/Apple fan, but I admire what Steve Jobs did, and feel his impact in the technology I use everyday (which are not Apple products, but are highly influenced by Apple).  I also appreciate, as a preacher, that Steve Jobs released his new products by delivering a sermon at events that can only be described as having religious fervor.

What strikes me about Jobs’ quote is that few people live like they believe they are going to die.  How often do we meander through day after day, with no thought of the future!? Yet the Bible is constantly pointing us towards the future, reminding us that we should make the most of our lives in the name of Jesus, reminding us that billions will face a fearful judgment and eternity apart from God.

I have an old plaque that was in our house when I was growing up, which read, “Just one life t’will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last” (John Piper writes about the same plaque in his book “Don’t Waste Your Life”). Thinking about the future should motivate us in the present. I think that is why God talks so much about it in the Bible.

Steve Jobs lived with the future in mind – the thought of his imminent death motivated his life. I don’t know what he believed about God and life after death, and I don’t know if he believed in Jesus, though I have never heard that he did.  His time on earth is done and he now faces eternity. Like every other human being, famous and obscure alike, the nature of his eternity is dependent on whether he placed his trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his sins.

Are you living in light of eternity? What you believe about the future impacts how you live here and now. Trust in Jesus today. Live for Jesus all your days. Don’t waste your life. Watch for His return. Make your life count for eternity.


  1. It seems that Steve Jobs lived more “death-aware” than many Christians. Nice post, Tim.

  2. [I have a right to be windy since I only post every 3 years or so- right? Anyway, you keep me thinking continually on “meaningfully engaging” our generation with the gospel.]

    “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” Steve Jobs

    I. Hunger

    There is a deep Biblical truth in this and that is “God, I want more of You than this. I want more of You than that. I would trade out of pure hunger 1 day in Your courts for thousands elsewhere. My soul and my heart cry out for You the Living God.” Steve was Unique and so are we and he didn’t apologize for that.

    Motto: e.g. “God I hunger to be all that it means to simply be Tim to the glory of God!” We never dare to surrender this synergism of God + Me= Why we’re unique. And, “You Kam- hunger to be all that it means to be Kam to the glory of God!” Coveting to be anyone else on this planet for any other purpose than that which God has called, justified, and glorified us in Christ is to Truncate the purpose behind the riches of His calling, election, justification, and glorification.

    II. Stay Foolish

    And, the second point is “Stay Foolish.” This means to certain Christians nothing really if we’re not “stepping out of the box” or “thinking outside of tradition” or “crawling out of a godless and useless paradigm” to meet people at “The Well” “just as I am” and ready to give an answer to the “just as they are” and them surprised by Joy (C.S. Lewis). I think when Paul used Foolishness 3 or more times it meant exactly this and what Steve had in mind- keep being foolish, keep going, it’s worth it, there’s something great waiting.

    III. Call to Evangelism and Steve Jobs Looking at Every Day as the Last

    I listened to you again tonight and have reflected 10,000 x on your desire for Evangelism and your insights. You owe me some brain-cells or a Coca-cola.

    Excuse 1.) Evangelism ‘now-a-days’ is extremely perplexing, complicated, challenging and seems as Moot as the deafening sound of Noah Hammering on His boat; not noticed, heard, or important to his generation. So, why would it be anymore important in this generation.

    Excuse 2.) Well, in the Roman Empire days everyone wanted a good-luck god. The “spiritual” was acknowledged and seen as powerful- so, today nobody cares about spiritual anything. To say, “Post-Christian” is almost less than saying, “Post-spiritual-anything.” So, in Post-spiritual-anything there’s no “starting-point” or “bridge.” Good excuse- huh?

    IV. Evangelism:Resources, Epochs, Excuses and Insight

    A.) My resources never match Your Resources Jesus for Your will to be done- never. If I think, “they do,” I’m deluded.

    B.) You open our eyes Lord Jesus to the fact that our resources (alone) can’t just “do” Evangelism or any aspect of Your will no matter how good it looks. This lesson can be extremely painful whether it’s a short or long process of “running-out” of “me” to find Your Resources to do Your will. And it’s to be a Daily Reality.

    C.) Just when we believers think that agreeing with “2.)” is enough, we’re then taken even further into the cloud or cave of a revelation of a deeper sense of running out of “me.” There, at what we consider the furthest regions of our resources puttering-out are Jesus’ footprints and the Living God’s Mantle of Power to then do His Will in His Power by His Grace through Faith- Evangelism being one aspect of that will.

    V. My Great Excuse

    In the days of the Roman Empire people at least believed that “the spiritual is needed” and “gods are needed to bless us” and so- it’s harder now. Back then people took spiritual things more seriously.

    VI. To Some Degree Any “Culture” or “Epoch” Argument Implodes

    Ultimately at any point in History when a man or woman is saved it is never dependent upon circumstances, culture, or “genres of reality” to save them. It’s always Post-Modernism or Post-Christian or not:

    * A Trusting Believing Christian Graciously Giving the Good News

    * Providential Grace

    * The same believing of the Message

    * The same Holy Spirit to convince

    Still, you owe me brain cells or a Cola because I wonder that if in our Noah-like Epoch, will it all just boil down to the fact that we did something, that we studied to make a clear presentation, and trusted the Lord that He will have Mercy on Whom He will have Mercy- even though we expect what Noah got in terms of “great-interaction?”

    • Hey Kam,
      Thanks for visiting my blog and yes, a coke would be in order. Let’s do that sometime soon and we can chat more about evangelism in this crazy age we live in. I am thinking about it lots in preparation for my transition.

  3. Wanted to drop a remark and let you know your Rss feed is not working today. I tried adding it to my Google reader account and got absolutely nothing.

    • thanks for letting me know and thanks for visiting the blog

  4. can you add me to your newsletter?

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