Therefore I say to you, O nations that hear and understand, "Await your shepherd; he will give you everlasting rest, because he who will come at the end of the age is close at hand. Be ready for the rewards of the kingdom, because the eternal light will shine upon you for evermore."
– 4 Esdras 2:34-35
I just learned that Steve Jobs passed away at the age of 56.
Jobs, for those who don't know, was the founder of Apple computers. I'm typing on an Apple laptop right now. We've all dreamed at one time or another in our lives of being as successful as Steve Jobs. But God doesn't judge us by our worldly success.
Steve Jobs' legacy is one of innovation. He brought to market some of the greatest technical products the world has ever seen. But he wasn't a gifted engineer. He was more of a super salesman. Some would call him a visionary.
At around 19 years of age, Jobs traveled to India and became a Buddhist. Like many young people who were born in the 1950's and grew up in the turbulent 60's, he was a searcher for the truth.
At the time there was great optimism that young people could change the world of their fathers and bring a new era of world peace. That dream died -- not because the counter-culture was unsuccessful, but because it succeeded. It did change the world, but it did not bring peace.
One wonders if Jobs hadn't become a Buddhist, would he still have founded Apple computers? What if he had become a Catholic priest and had gone to India as a missionary instead? Perhaps he would have been as successful at that calling as he was as a high-tech entrepreneur.
I think we can say without a doubt that God doesn't care about the technical progress of mankind unless it is accompanied by spiritual progress as well. Certainly computers and the internet can be used to spread the Gospel, but for the most part that is not what we have seen.
Instead we have seen the internet used to a much greater extent to spread pornography. But that is really just a symptom of an underlying spiritual disease.
When Apple removed an application for the Manhattan Declaration, that was in some ways worse than the spread of pornography. There has always been pornography of one form or another, and it has spread through whatever technology has been available at the time. But when the truths of Christianity are labeled as "hate speech" then we are entering into a whole new level of evil.
We Christians are mostly to blame because we have not been a light to the world as Jesus commanded us. We settled for worldly success and compromised on the proclamation of the Gospel. We adapted the commandments of Jesus Christ so that we could live comfortably, instead of embracing the Cross.
Why was it that the "flower children" of the 60s felt that they needed to make a pilgrimage to India to become "enlightened" when the true source of truth and light was right here all along? But after World War II, America became complacent with material success and gradually abandoned the great spiritual gift of Christianity in exchange for worldly pleasures. She was seduced by temptation.
The apple is the symbol of temptation. To take a bite of the apple is a symbol of giving in to temptation. A man as attentive to the details as Steve Jobs was surely aware of this.
We can only pray that at some point before his last breath, he became aware of his errors and asked God for forgiveness.
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Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.