Steve Jobs

It was about two years ago that I got my iPhone, my first Apple product.  I knew I would have to get a protective case for it but I didn’t want to.  The thing as it came out of the box felt so good, so right.  Everything about said ‘This is not a toy.’  It felt like a precision piece of equipment, meant for serious business.  I now own an iPad and I find the same is true of it.  I expect that all Apple products are that way.  The attention to detail, the intentionality of design, the sense of empowerment.  There is a psychology designed in to every Apple product.  You do business on a PC: spreadsheets, memos, e-mails, PowerPoints.  With an Apple product you create.  With an Apple product you can change the world.

Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 has been getting a lot of attention lately.  Melanie Jongsma included the video of it on her blog if you haven’t seen it.

People seem to either love of hate Steve Jobs.  Either he’s hard, cold, overly demanding, a micro-manager or he’s a charismatic leader who gets the best out of people.  Great leaders are like that.  You love ’em or you hate ’em.  I think Steve Jobs was a great leader.

Here is a list of guiding principles that I think great leaders follow and expect of others:

  1. Always do your best even if nobody is looking, even if you won’t get any credit for it.
  2. Pay attention to the details.  It’s the details that can set you apart from others.
  3. Even though you will never get there never lose sight of your goal which is perfection

So you can see why there are such opposite views of who Steve Jobs was.  Either you buy in to his vision or you see him as hard, demanding, unreasonable.

I think Steve Jobs was a charismatic leader.  But Jim Jones was also a charismatic leader.  So was David Koresh.   Charles Manson was a charismatic leader.

And Jesus Christ was a charismatic leader.

But Steve Jobs was not Jim Jones or David Koresh or Charles Manson.  And he was not Jesus Christ.

People say Steve Jobs changed the world but he didn’t.  He changed the way we do things but he didn’t change what we do.  If you were a loner Apple products offer even more ways to be a loner.  If you were social and gregarious you now have even more avenues for social activity.  We are the same people but now we have more opportunities to be who we are.

So I don’t think you can say Steve Jobs changed the world.  The world is not a better place because of him.  There is only one who is capable of changing the world.  And He does it not by changing what we do.  He does it by changing who we are.  Jesus said we must be born again.  The apostle Paul said that when we are in Him we are new creatures.  We are His righteousness acted out in this world.  He said that He lives in us.  Jesus, unique of all the charismatic leaders in history, changes the world not by offering new tools or better methods.  He changes by making us new.

So celebrate Steve Jobs for his leadership, his passion, his innovation.  But just know this.  He did not change the world.  Only Jesus can do that.  And He does it one person at a time.

 

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About Angus Lewis

My wife and I lived our whole lives in Arkansas until ten years ago. We moved to the Kansas City area in 2011 (a job change). That was the reason for the 'From a Far Country' title. Our children and grandchildren were in Arkansas. Six months ago we sold our house and bought one in Sherwood, Arkansas and my wife moved back down here. Two weeks ago I retired and moved back too. (I'm probably going to try to find something part time to keep me out of trouble.) So maybe the 'From a Far Country' title is not so much of a fit anymore. But I think I'll stick with it. I'm still not home. Not yet. The Bible says we are all strangers and pilgrims here. Our real home is with God and some day we'll be there. We'll be home.
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