A rich man died this week. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers, lost his battle with cancer. He was only 56 years old. Far too young to die in many peoples' eyes, including mine. I'm not that far behind him age wise. What an amazing mind he had! Such creativity and brilliance. His legacy will live on for ages.
But one question lingers in my mind as I think about Mr. Jobs.
Where is he spending eternity?
I've read that he embraced Buddhism several years ago but also that he wasn't necessarily a 'practicing Buddhist'. Obviously I don't know for certain what, if any, faith or spiritual beliefs he had. I haven't read any articles in the past few days that give a definitive answer about it. Which is telling to me.
There is a story in the Bible that speaks to us about life and death. It's found in Luke 16:19-31. It's about a rich man and a poor man. It's about heaven and hell. It's told by Jesus, who would certainly understand these things better than anyone else.
"There was a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus...longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table...The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side." (v. 19-22)
Already we can make some assumptions about how these two men lived their lives. The poor man didn't have much material wealth to show for his time on earth. But clearly he lived his life in obedience according to God's word because he is now receiving his reward: A life in heaven. The rich man, however, is in hell. He had everything the world can offer, but no amount of money will ever buy a ticket out of hell.
The rich man goes on to ask Abraham to send Lazarus down with a drink of water because "I am in agony in this fire' (v. 24). But Abraham makes it clear there is no going back and forth between heaven and hell. "...between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us." (v.26)
What you do on earth matters! How you live the life God has given you matters! Your choices matter. Your heart-beliefs matter. Your words matter. Your actions matter. We are only given one chance to get things right. One life to live and be the person God intended us to be. We are created by God and for God's purposes, not to fulfill our own ideas about what our lives should be.
There is no question Steve Jobs was a brilliant man. His ideas and inventions have benefited millions of people, myself included. But if he didn't acknowledge God and accept Jesus as his Savior, none of those things matter. He'll be remembered on earth as a great man, but his eternal life will be lost.
Now don't misunderstand this post. I am not saying Steve Jobs is in hell. I have no idea what his last months, weeks, days of life were like. I'm sure he contemplated life-after-death in the quiet moments when he knew his body was dying. I hope he sought spiritual guidance and found the Truth that is Jesus Christ.
It's too late now for Steve Jobs to change his mind if he didn't. It was too late for the rich man in the story too and he wants to warn his loved ones.
"...I beg you, father [Abraham], send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment." (v. 27-28)
I wonder, does Steve Jobs wish he could send a warning to anyone? His family. His friends. The world. You.
He can't, but like Abraham told the rich man, we already have the warning! It's called the Bible!
"They have Moses and the Prophets, let them listen to them." (v. 29)
Are you listening??? Please do before it's too late. I don't want to look over the great chasm from heaven and see someone I love in hell. ='(
This week's Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
USA, Russia, Paraguay, Latvia, Germany, Ukraine, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, France