“If I could give epic keynotes, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I created the world’s most loved products, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I was one of the wealthiest people on the planet, but I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-7;13 Dave’s New Living Translation
When Steve Jobs died and an outpouring of 9/11-like memorializing broke out around the world, I had to bite my tongue.
It was too soon (or perhaps too late) to point out that the emperor had no clothes. And let’s be honest. If I’d tried, the Cult of Mac would have likely lynched me.
But I wasn’t alone. Some had been already begun revealing the inconsistencies, the hypocrisy, the downright shadiness of this man who’d trained us to bow in his shadow.
There were rumors, allegations, investigations. But most people didn’t want to hear it. They were already in bed with Apple and were angry at anyone who dared insult their lover.
Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine explores all this and more. Like most documentaries, it’s a bit of an overreach, but perhaps that’s what we need to bring balance to the force.
In it, we learn what kind of person Jobs was, what kind of relationships he had, and what kind of business he built. In a nutshell: his products were pretty; he was not.
You’d think people would have caught on by now. Yet to this day, when business leaders are asked about who and what they aspire to, Jobs and Apple consistently top the list. What they’re unwittingly declaring is: I will betray, manipulate, intimidate, lie to, use, and trample as many people as necessary to get to the top. The ends always justify the means. I will be number one, and don’t you dare get in my way.
If Steve Jobs had been the person he was without creating the products he did, few would have cried when he died.
“People were not connected to him because of his character.”
“When I was writing critical [and true] stories about Apple, the mail would be 80% hate mail.”
“Is making and selling products, even if they’re the best, enough to make the world a better place?”
Who we put on a pedestal matters because our heroes shape our aspirations and our aspirations shape our lives.
According to Jesus (who knew a bit more than Jobs), true success is defined by love. When asked what was most important, he replied,
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 23:37;39
Even Christians are quick to miss this point. We too get caught up in false definitions of success, pursuing bigger and better (for God’s glory of course – cough, cough) when all God’s asked us to do is believe, love, and obey.
Maybe it’s time we started looking for better role models and began asking ourselves some tough questions, like:
- How does my definition of success line up with God’s?
- What am I building with my life? Will it count for eternity?
- How well am I loving God and others each day?
- Who am I when no one’s looking?
You probably won’t create the next Apple or be the next Steve Jobs, and that’s okay. Because at the end of the day it’s about how well you receive and give love.