Make Something of the World – A Recap of Steve Jobs

Have you ever considered what it means to be made in the image of God? Most often, our ideas surround the ideas of character traits or qualities that separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom and creation. Lately, I’ve been fascinated by the idea that there is a functional aspect to being in the image of God. That is, the image of God consists partly in the desire and mandate to make something of the world. There’s a function that we must perform, a function to experience and create beauty, to give the world meaning, to produce something out of the raw materials at our disposal. So when Steve Jobs resigned as CEO as Apple, I couldn’t help but be impressed by how he fulfilled his divine calling (whether or not he recognized it as from the Lord). He made something of the world in such a way that literally the world is not the same. However, the road was not glamorous at all. He didn’t just one day think up the Iphone or MacBook or IPad or ITunes without lots of failures and risks along the way. In fact, as I read about his life, I realize that it’s because of the failures and setbacks – his desire to start something – that he was able to create and contribute the way he did. Here’s a short list of some of the failures and successes in chronological order. Note the risks, setbacks, and average-ness of his life before Apple stardom.

  • Dropped out of Reed College.
  • Worked as a video game designer for Atari.
  • Built the Apple 1 logic board out of his garage.
  • Sold his car for startup money to start Apple, Inc.
  • Built the Apple II.
  • Sales slump and Jobs is removed from his CEO position by the board of Apple.
  • Jobs started another company called NeXT, selling NeXT machines. Haven’t heard of it? Didn’t think so.
  • Jobs co-founded Pixar Animation Studios (bet you’ve heard of them), and after the merger with Disney in 2006, now sits on the board of Directors for Disney.
  • Apple’s new CEO, Gilbert Amelio, hired Jobs as a consultant, but Amelio was fired one year later and Jobs was asked to be interim CEO.
  • Jobs introduced the IMac, Ibook, and G4 desktop computer.
  • Jobs launched the IPod and persuaded major record companies to sell their music through an unproven outlet called ITunes (only 10 years ago).
  • Jobs is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
  • Jobs introduced the IPhone, and IPod touch. From this point on, touch screen technology comes in full force as well as a new market is born for smartphone apps.
  • Jobs unveiled the IPad which again created a new market for tablets and associated apps as well as pushing the e-book market.
  • Jobs health continues to deteriorate with an organ transplant and hormone infusions leading to his resignation as CEO.
Not a bad list of accomplishments for a college dropout who built computers in his garage, faced the onslaught of a giant named Microsoft, and invented new markets in portable music, smartphones, smartphone apps, and tablet computers.
As I said in a previous post, it’s too easy to think that if anything is worth starting, it’s gotta be Steve Jobs-esque. No, the point is to start something. Jobs didn’t build the Apple 1 knowing that he’d build an IPad one day. He just acted on his passion and his idea. To initiate and act on an idea, a dream, cause, or a need that you see. We don’t have to have a global impact to change the world, and who knows how God will use your ‘making something of the world’ to bring glory to His name for the joy of many peoples. Thanks, Steve, for reminding us that we can and we must do something with the time and world God has entrusted to us.

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