Life Lessons From An Innovator Part 2: Time for a Revolution

Steve Jobs | Entrepreneur, CEO, and Innovator

I’ll admit it.  I used to be one of those people.  PC all the way.  Windows, Office, Ctrl+Alt+Del.  I was determined never to have anything to do with…Apple.  Granted, I grew up with the Apple IIe and the Macintosh but later was firmly planted on Microsoft’s side.  I grew smug when Bill Gates bailed out Apple: Silicon Valley losers!  I even bought a Zen for my mp3 player.  Secretly, I craved, even lusted after the Mac and wanted an iPod like all the other kids so I could be cool too.  It’s the very reason millions are drawn to the Apple mystique, well other than it’s practical uses of course.  Again, this was all due to the genius of Mister Steve Jobs.

In his famous commencement address at Stanford he said, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.Not only did Steve exemplify that with his life, I’m reminded of 11 individuals, quirks and all, who Acts referred to as “those who turned the world upside down.”  The Apostles and later the disciples were a motley crew of uneducated, simple, unassuming fishermen, an IRS agent, a militant political activist, and a banker.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”  Steve was the personification of innovation.  He didn’t want to live in the past talking about how to improve what the world was already familiar with.  He was a pioneer who constantly looked for the undiscovered.

Our lives and ministries must be unprecedented and unpredictable.  It cannot be overdone and overused routines.  While the message remains the same, culture changes and so must our presentation.  We shoot ourselves in the foot if we lose the ability to communicate creatively.  However, the WOW shouldn’t come in the “show” but the connection of people to the awesome Presence of God.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”  Steve didn’t let his shortcomings stop him.  He faced the “stigma” of being adopted, was dyslexic, and only went to college for one semester.  Atari and HP refused to hire him because he didn’t have a degree.  This became the fuel for a technological revolution.

As 21st century First World Christ followers we’ve lost our drive and passion.  While we’ve added lights, videos, and developed image driven productions, I wonder what the eternal effect has actually been.  We can keep people entertained and awake, but are we REALLY introducing them to Christ?  I wonder sometimes if we could for a week, shut down the internet, the associations, and lay aside the canned sermons.  If we could find our way back to the altar of prayer and get God’s timely world, realizing that time is running out.  Who cares about what the big guys are doing? What does God want us to do regarding the communities He’s ENTRUSTED to us?

“Don’t be trapped by…living with the results of other people’s thinking…have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”  This about sums it up.  Steve didn’t want to be just another programmer or creator of regurgitated products.  He didn’t want to just defy expectations but to redefine them.  It was his life’s work.

I look back at myself.  I wonder about my colleagues.  Yes, we’ve matured.  Yes, we go through processes.  Yes, we don’t always get to “do what we want to do.”  Yes, the dreams of our youth may have been a little radical and unrealistic.  But then again, isn’t that what God wants from us?  Am I doing today what I used to dream about?  Or have I become just another minister and just another Christ follower?  Am I just getting a paycheck?  Do I really believe in what I’m doing?  Do I respect and believe in the person I see in the mirror every morning?  Am I doing what I was called to do?  Do I love what I’m doing?

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

No one can dispute this…Steve Jobs, while no longer with us physically, will be a part of our culture for a very long time.  I asked our young adult ministry a year ago, “How many have of you use iTunes?  Raise your hands.  Do you have an iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook, iMac, Apple 2e?”  There were 3 holdouts at the end.  Then I asked, “How many of you use Windows, a USB port, or a mouse?”  Every hand in the room was up.  There was the evidence.  He’s influenced all of our lives.

How much more should Christ followers, anointed and called by God…affect, influence, and bring about transformation?

“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.”

His Legacy

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