Changing the World
“Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world.”
This quote, posted by Mark Zuckerberg in tribute to Steve Jobs on the day of his passing last week, makes a pretty incredible statement: Steve Jobs qualifies to be remembered as a person of such influence, that he can go down in history as a “world changer.” In fact, the Apple Board of Directors, in their released comments, says “the world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”
Wow. The sociological, economic, and physical world the we live in is immeasurably better because of the work of one man?
For those readers who know me, you might be surprised to see two posts in back to back weeks oriented around the passing of Steve Jobs. Although I do own an iPod (still “click-wheel” rolling with my 3rd Generation classic… does this qualify for a technology museum yet?), I don’t have the same love and borderline obsession with Apple products that I see many in my generation have. Although I appreciate the ingenuity, and full recognize how this company regularly sets the trend for technological innovation, I have no consumer loyalty or affinity to their products.
So, why continue to reflect on the life and influence of Steve Jobs? The answer is in the question- because of his influence. As the quotes above demonstrate, we may be considering the monumental impact that Steve’s pioneering spirit and innovative thinking had not only on the world of technology, but on how this technology has transformed the business and societal landscape of our planet, for quite some time.
But what about you? What hope do you have for changing the world?
If you’re anything like me, one who has aspirations of hopefully leaving some sort of impact on the world in which we live (a dream that probably most of my peers raised in the “self-esteem” movement can resonate with), does reflecting on Job’s life leave one inspired… or depressed? I stuck out my 4-years college degree: does that mean that I’m doomed to failure for not breaking the mold? Clearly, I haven’t made the kind of bold and aggressive gambles that Steve made at this age of life that defied the rules and brought him out ahead. Am I doomed to a life of mediocrity and miniscule world impact?
There are several answers to these questions, and in addition, to this mentality. First of all, the short answer is: there is still a lot more time in life- so it’s too early to tell. That goes for me, and for you.
But an underlying question that is far more important is “how do I measure what a successful life is?” “How influential is influential enough to leave a mark in history?”
I’ll be honest: I don’t know where to stick the bar for “influential enough.” But I do know this: big enough to play a roll in the very purpose and end to which our entire universe is pointing, and big enough to arise as a ‘winner’ at the final dawn of history in this world as we know it…that’s probably big enough.
And the great blessing: this is the sort of “world impact” the Christian has to look forward to. For those saved by the work of Jesus, we are incorporated into the people of God. Just as we are united with Christ in His sufferings as he experienced in his persecution and death today (Col 1:24, Rom 6:5a), we “certainly shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom 6:5b). As partakers in the resurrection and the victory over sin and death, we are given assurance that we will be counted among the victors when Christ, the victorious lamb, returns to judge the living and the dead (Rev 4-5, Rev 7:9-12, 1 Peter 4:5). For those in Christ, we are all a part of the cosmological climax of all of creation, hand chosen and personally redeemed to be gloried with Jesus. And as Jesus established his new heavens and new earth, we will be the ones chosen to worship Him in all this regal and incomprehensive splendor!
Now, for those who aren’t on the side of the King- the experience will be quite different. Instead of singing songs of your King, they will be praising God as he exerts his just wrath that will finally ensure that all evil and sin is rendered its due.
So, what about the meaning of my life today? It is not angles, or mystical experiences, or some other method by which Jesus tells mankind about these realities, and leads them to become believers. He chose us. We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20), and it is through the feet of the God’s people that “good news” is delivered (Isa 52:7).
So, how can my life have world changing impact? What legacy will I live? Christian, you have the potential to have the greatest imaginable change in the future of the world, because today you possess the authority and the charge to determine the eternal fate of a human soul.
Offer a man an iPod, and watch him be happy for a day. Offer a man Jesus, and watch him be happy for eternity. If there was ever a search for purpose, certainly no greater purpose can be found than in realizing you are made for God’s purpose for all of human history… and eternity thereafter.
Part of Jobs’ inspiring story is that he dropped out of college after before completing one year, and proceeded to eventually start one of the most profitable companies in the world from a garage with a friend and fellow summer intern he met at IBM (Steve Wozniak). His success came by navigating his own vision, and not by adopting the typical pattern of education and progression that is status quo in our society. This makes his world impact all the more interesting.
 From Jesus himself. Matt 28:18