Each week that passes more than one million people will go out into eternity. The majority will go to their graves unsung and will not be missed by any but their family and closest friends. With these statistics we have a constant reminder of Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
However, this week two men in particular passed away. Each had an impact on the world in different ways and with far-reaching implications. The first man was wealthy by all the world’s standards. He was a genius when it came to designing new products that help our advanced civilizations see their day go smoother. iPad, iTouch, iMac, iBook, iPhone, iTunes, and a number of other i-devices that many would find it difficult to live without.
Steve Jobs, a man of the world, passed away at what seems like a young age of 56 after a massive struggle with cancer. His inventions and life changed the lives of others in ways not imaginable just 30 years ago, and maybe even less than 20 years ago. There has even been a great outpouring of grief from many in the business world.
We do not demean or seek to belittle the grief that his family is going through, or even the great outpouring of grief from many in the business world. The reality is that Mr. Steve Jobs had an appointment with God that no amount of money or inventions could prevent from taking place. With his death, there are questions that must be asked.
In the light of eternity, what difference did he really make? Did his inventions change lives in a way that brings glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ? He changed many people and many businesses but what difference has it really made. With the current advances in technology, the devices designed and invented over the last couple of years will be replaced with something better and newer. Some of them will only be found in museums while others will pass into the dust piles of oblivion. Sadly, the fame and knowledge of Steve Jobs will go the same way as past great business men like Howard Hughes, Lee Iacocca, Eli Whitney, and others who have impacted their world. One day, children will hear of Steve Jobs only in a textbook and wonder what the big deal was about this person.
On another continent though lived another individual who also changed lives. However, as aptly expressed in the words of the poem by Sir Walter Scott, this week he returned “to the vile dust from whence he sprung, unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.” Compared to the myriads who mourn for Steve Jobs, few will mourn this man’s passing. In fact, outside of his country, this man is unknown. He invented no technology to benefit the advance of his fellow countrymen. It is safe to say that he had never even owned any piece of technology in his entire life besides one simple cell phone. He had no earthly wealth and was able to live on less than $30 (US Dollars) per month for the vast majority of his life. This unsung man concluded his life with not a bank account to his name. His two-room home was made of sun-dried mud bricks and he never had the privilege of owning any form of modern transportation.
Pastor Gbarwee with umbrella
For almost the same length of time that Steve Jobs was alive, Pastor Gbarwee of the village Mehnla, Nimba County, Liberia, West Africa sought to make a difference in the lives of all he came in contact with. For approximately 50 years, he was the pastor of Mehnla Mid-Baptist Church and for years has had the privilege of telling others of the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. The value of his life will never end either here or in the life to come. He may not be long remembered on this earthly vale, but heaven’s hall of fame will long remember one who was a servant of the Most High.
Neither of these men ever met each other, and neither of them even had knowledge of the other. There will be many earthly accolades rendered to Steve Jobs, while few will be given to Pastor Gbarwee. However, on the other side of eternity, a very different scene is taking place. It matters not to God how much money was made or not made. It matters not whether inventions took place or did not take place. What matters is what was done with the Person of Jesus Christ.
For Steve Jobs, the reality is that no matter his position in life, the money he made, the inventions he created, or the lives he impacted, he is still facing the Creator of the Universe. He must now give account for his life. It is claimed that Steve Jobs had converted to Buddhism a few years ago. This means his name is not found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and he will now have to find himself spending eternity in hell with no chance of a re-boot.
For Pastor Gbarwee, his faith had long ago been placed in the Saviour. He lived for the One he claimed to love. He preached to his people that Jesus Christ alone is the answer to all that pertains to life and godliness. Unlike those who perish without Christ, the Bible tells us those who remain faithful to the end will receive a crown of righteousness. Instead of judgment which was paid for on the cross, we know from Scripture that we have the privilege of being welcomed into the loving arms of the Saviour. To hear Him say, “Well done, you have been a good and faithful servant!” will be a far greater reward than all the money of this earth could buy. Eternity will long remember those who gave their lives serving the Master.
One man, Steve Jobs, lived well, but did not end well because his faith was not in Christ. The other, Pastor Gbarwee, lived poorly based on earthly standards, but he finished well! What a way to live!
So, we conclude with a few questions to ponder. What kind of legacy do we desire to leave behind? In the light of eternity, what difference will our lives make on the lives of others? Is our headlong rush to eternity tempered by the desire to seek the glory and honor of God in each and every aspect of our lives? Will you choose to live well and leave questions as to how your life ends, or will you live in a way that others will know before Christ that you finished well?
A life-changer for this world, or a life-changer for eternity? Your choice!