EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) — Steve Jobs didn’t have a lot to say. He didn’t give a lot of speeches, except for a graduation address at Stanford University. He didn’t take to the podium except when unveiling his new products.
Yet Jobs was one of history’s greatest communicators, for he changed the history of communication itself. He made the world accessible to us, and us to the world. He turned “I” into a lower-case phenomenon and squeezed all our bulky entertainment systems into portable devices. Jobs’ mission was delivering as much content possible, to as many people as possible, as quickly, portably and affordably as possible.
Steve Jobs wasn’t perfect, and I’m not holding him up as a role model except in this way: Perhaps his commitment to his mission will remind us of our commitment to ours. We’re to rededicate ourselves every day to deliver the Gospel to as many people possible, as quickly, portably and affordably as possible.
Technology through the ages
Christians have always used the most advanced technologies of their day for delivering the Gospel. We can illustrate this from the life of the apostle Paul. Though the world had changed little in his day, Paul took advantage of even the smallest technological advancements. He used papyrus instead of parchment, Roman roads instead of self-made trails, Greek in addition to Hebrew.
Paul used every means available to him. “I have become all things to all men,” he said, “that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22b). He didn’t compromise his morals or his message, but he did adapt his methods to ensure the greatest possible success.
Christians since New Testament days have followed Paul’s example in using “all means” to spread the Gospel. In the 1400s, Johannes Gutenberg changed the world with his printing press. And what was the first book that rolled out of its movable type? The Bible, of course.
Fast forward to 1992. The first text message ever sent was by British engineer Neil Papworth. It was a two-word greeting: “Merry Christmas.”
Our expanding technology allows us to reach more people with the message of Christ. Yes, we’re aware of the moral dangers of our advancements. But that’s all the more reason to harness them for Christ.
An ageless Gospel
The world is changing, but the more it changes, the more it stays the same. People are still sinners. Judgment is still waiting. The grace of God is still available. And the Gospel of Jesus Christ is still our only hope.
I grew up in an era in which people came to the Lord through revival campaigns and door-to-door visitation. Some of those methods are useful today; others less so. But the Gospel I preach is exactly the same as the apostle Paul presented in 1 Corinthians 15: “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (verses 1-4).
The ministry of soul-winning is never out of season. It’s the act of one person telling another about the wonderful grace of Jesus. Instead of reduced options or decreased openness, we have more ways than ever to share Christ.
Earlier, I referred to Steve Jobs’ address to the graduates of Stanford University. His words were poignant: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it,” he said. “When I was 17, I read a quote that said something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?'”
Steve Jobs is right in saying our time on earth is limited. We should live each day as if it were our last and seek to do things that really matter.
Don’t be afraid to try something new when it comes to evangelism. Let’s say with Paul, “I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some.”