Short on time

I’ve read a lot about Steve Jobs. He was the CEO of Apple that elevated that company into a worldwide way of life. More than the guy that gave us Iphones and Ipads, even now, people still look to him for business and leadership insight. By all accounts, he was a next-level kind of guy.

I watched a video of one of his company gatherings. At one point, someone approached a microphone to ask Steve a question related to an older computer program. The program was good, but a newer program replaced it. The question was actually a criticism of Steve. He replied in an elegant way. Never did he call out the questioner’s call out. In fact, he even agreed with his assessment.

Part of Jobs’ response was to recognize the older program’s value. The new program, though, did something different. Instead of marketing a great product to consumers, the company began with the consumers in mind. It was what the company knew about consumers that dictated what kind of product the new program would be.

There’s a gospel parallel there. Someone once said, “The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.”

We have this amazing faith. Unfortunately, many have come to believe it’s the world’s responsibility to come find it. But Jesus teaches us to share it. In mission terms, we talk about “meeting people where they are.”

Do we really do that?

You’ll have to look at what kind of ministry we have and the fruit related to it to answer. In a lot of ways, we meet people where we want them to be. Assuming we meet them at all.

Now, let’s take a weird turn.

Remember how I told you people still talk a lot about Steve Jobs? I read an article written yesterday about him. It was a look into a habit of his that makes for a “truly successful life.” Apparently, Steve Jobs would confront the shortness of his life. Every day, he woke up and looked in the mirror and asked himself, “If today were the last day of your life, would you want to be doing what you’re doing?”

Jobs wanted to bring about change through technology, and he did. The church wants to bring about wholeness through the gospel. How passionate are we about bring that about?

Do you recall what Jesus did on his last night alive? When the reality of the shortness of his life was before him, what did Jesus do? He prayed and he served.

And think of our reading today. The apostle Paul heard a prophecy concerning his ministry, told of in Acts 21. The prophecy was that he would be bound by religious authorities. I think there’s an implication that death would follow. What was Paul’s response?

So be it.

It didn’t deter him from what he knew God set him out to do. His short time seemed to galvanize his conviction. 

Recognizing the brevity of our time on earth inspires the Christian heart to follow God’s will. Most likely, you won’t have to face torture or persecution. But you will have to make a decision about your life’s aim. If it’s to please God, we should recognize the calling that comes with that.

Do you know the hymn “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations”? The opening line is:

We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
that shall turn their hearts to the right. 

But can their hearts turn to the right if they don’t hear the story?

We don’t have a lot of time. May it be, then, that we honor and glorify God in our short time in a way that shows others the goodness and love of Jesus.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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