When you're a kid, you're wet cement. Impressions get written so easily - and so deeply. Then they harden into the beliefs - or unbeliefs - of that kid-become-adult. Apparently, Steve Jobs was no exception.
Apple's communications genius/revolutionary, has been described as "intriguing, yet inscrutable." But as he battled cancer, he opened some windows into his mind and soul to the author writing his life story. According to the new biography that bears his name, Steve Jobs studied Zen Buddhism for years. A recent article in USA Today said, "He never went back to church after he saw a photo of starving children on the cover of Life and asked his Sunday school pastor if God knew what would happen to them. He was 13 at the time."
In a separate article, USA Today includes this near-the-end spiritual observation from Steve Jobs' biography: "The juice goes out of Christianity when it becomes too based on faith rather than on living like Jesus or seeing the world as Jesus saw it."
None of us knows exactly where Steve Jobs finally landed in his spiritual journey. But in his words about Jesus is a glimmer of the bedrock truth that answers so many spiritual questions: It's all about Jesus.
Christianity, the religion, never has been the issue - although many have been unable or unwilling to separate Jesus from the religion that is about Him. But Jesus made it all about Him, and Him alone, in the simple two-word invitation He extended over and over again - "Follow Me." Jesus never said "follow My religion" or "follow My followers." And He didn't say "follow My rules" or "follow My leaders." No, the only reason to turn away from Jesus is if you have a problem with Jesus.
As for "seeing the world as Jesus saw it," He saw it broken because people walk past the wounded, absorbed with themselves - as in His story of the Good Samaritan. He saw it cold and lonely and twisted because every man has chosen to ignore the Manufacturer's instructions and become our own god for our life. And that has brought us a world of bleeding families, greedy hoarding that produces global hungering, and an endless drama of people being used, abused and walked on.
And what about those starving children? Jesus said when we reach for them to help them, "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me." And, "whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me" (Matthew 25:40, 45). Jesus is so personally identified with the hurting people of our world that He takes our treatment of them as our treatment of Him. With eternal consequences.
This Jesus that's it all about came here as "a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering...pierced for our transgressions...crushed for our iniquities" (Isaiah 53:3, 5). This is the God who leaves the Throne to die on the Cross. He's a God you can believe in. A God who stands alone above all the wannabe gods of earth's spiritual pantheon. And ultimately, we find in Jesus the only man of the billions who've lived who has come back from the grave - and promised eternal life to all those who would "follow Me."
Behind all the fog of all the "sophisticated" spiritualities and dueling religions of our world stands one real God. One real Savior. The God who hung on a cross.
USA Today - October 21, 2011, 1B; "Jobs biography pulls back web of privacy;" Rachel Metz, Associated Press.
USA Today - October 25, 2011, 2B; "Jobs lived intriguing, yet inscrutable life;" by Jon Swartz and Scott Martin.