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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Steve Jobs versus God

It's likely you've heard of Steve Jobs. Jobs is the cofounder of Apple, the company that pioneered the market for home computers many years ago. In more recent years Apple (thanks in large part to the ingenuity of Jobs) has taken the world by storm with its iPods, iPhones and iPads. Apple, which teetered on the verge of bankruptcy during a time when Jobs stepped away from the company, has roared back to become one of the world's most profitable corporations.
The world naturally took notice when Steve Jobs announced last week that he was stepping down from his post with Apple due to serious health issues. One man in Tokyo, Joseph Tame, decided to pay tribute to Jobs' contributions to his tech-affected life in a most unusual way. Using two iPhones, he ran a half-marathon which he had mapped out in the shape of Apple's familiar apple-shaped logo.
Tame's accomplishment has no long-lasting value; it will be forgotten in a few weeks. But for Tame it was an important gesture to show how much he appreciated the work of Steve Jobs. "I'd like to personally show my appreciation to Steve for his vision and leadership, which has made a direct positive impact upon my life," Tame stated in an interview with the Huffington Post (8/30/11).
Tributes are not uncommon in our world; we often recognize the debt we owe to someone, and want to find some way to express our thanks. Memorial Day is one such example. We know we must never forget the sacrifices of those who have served in the armed forces, and so we annually pay tribute to them. Mothers' Day is another opportunity to express gratitude we feel.
In writing to the Roman Christians, Paul noted what a serious matter it is to fail to give tribute to the One who deserves it most - God. "Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened" (Romans 1:21). From that point, Paul went on to write, things go from bad to worse. One who does not take time to give thanks to God has taken the first step down a deadly slippery slope.
Psalm 107 develops this truth in a powerful way. The psalm begins with this exhortation: "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 107:1). In the 43 verses of that psalm the writer presents different situations in which people faced death: people lost in the desert, some who were terribly oppressed and in chains, sailors on a storm-tossed sea. In each case they were delivered from their dire circumstances.
The refrain that follows each of these examples of rescue is the same: "Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" (Psalm 107:8,15,21,31). The implied idea is that all of us have reasons to pay tribute to the Lord. But not all of us take the time to do so.
Ten lepers were healed by Jesus of their dreaded disease, but only one returned to give thanks. Jesus' question is still timely: "Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" (Luke 17:18).
Steve Jobs may have touched your life in numerous ways through his creative mind. But God's impact on anyone's life far outweighs any person's. Shouldn't we regularly pay tribute to Him?
Timothy D. Hall, e-mail:

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