A comparison of Steve Job and Billy Graham
As we approach the end of what has been a reasonably easy winter weather wise, I find myself thinking how much life and the weather have in common. Weather brings sunny days and stormy days as life brings good days and bad days. The one common denominator is that with patience the stormy weather will pass. Weather has the four seasons each year; spring ,summer, fall and winter. Life can be compared with childhood, adolescence, adult and old age. In both cases many days are unpredictable. We know we can’t control the weather and although we may exert great effort we come to realize there are many things in life beyond our control.
I recently read two books. I love to read and I usually have a number of books placed within easy reach around the house. These two books were Steve Jobs (of Apple fame) biography and Billy Graham (Of Christian fame) “The Journey”. As I was reading the two books at the same time I found myself comparing the two men’s lives and accomplishments.
I expected to be impressed with Mr Jobs and found I was somewhat surprised by him and his methods. I expected to read how Billy Graham had never doubted God, the way I have, and found he had. Although I was surprised by Steve I found him to be interesting and an obvious eccentric genius who changed the world. I also found him to be an example of how you do not have to treat people well to reap great rewards. Billy Graham is nearing the end of his life and Steve was facing the end of his life when his biography was written. Both have different perspectives on the here after. Steve thought there might be something. He hoped so any way. Billy Graham is convinced and tries to convince you to believe in Christ and thus Heaven. Billy makes a convincing case for how much God loves us. Steve makes a convincing case for following your dreams and doing what you want in life, not what some one else wants you to do. Knowing he was going to die Steve quoted, “Almost everything-all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure-these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” He also quoted this, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the trouble makers, the round pegs in the square holes….the ones who see things differently--they are not fond of the rules…you can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things….they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones that do...THINK DIFFERENT !!”
Some interesting comments about death and life: Here is what Billy said about death: “Most of all I take comfort in the hope we can have eternal life in Heaven because of Christ’s death and resurrection for us. I’ve preached this message almost all my life, and it means more to me now than ever before.” (Taken from Time in august 2007 after his wife Ruth’s death.)
In News week August 2006 He quoted: “I have a certainty about eternity that is a wonderful thing, and I thank God for giving me that certainty. I do not fear death. I may fear a little bit about the process, but not death itself, because I think the moment that my spirit leaves this body, I will be in the presence of the Lord.”
Here is some of what Billy said about life. “The Christen life is not a constant high. I have found my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘Oh God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.” “Suffering is part of the human condition, and it comes to us all, the key is how we react to it, either turning away from God in anger and bitterness or growing closer to Him in trust and confidence.” (From his book “Just As I Am”)
The internet is full of quotes from both men. Two entirely different lives but probably two men who impacted more lives in the past 50 years than anyone else. So much accomplishments and such different philosophies. I don’t know if they ever met or talked but I am going to impress upon you the importance of one common denominator, Death, that dreaded word. That dreaded end of life that we would ignore if we could. Both of these men understood the importance of death. You see if you accept you are going to die, life becomes more important. When you look at someone you love with the realization they are going to die they become more important to you. Death is part of life. Billy has the belief that life does not end with death. Steve wasn’t sure but both used death as a prime motivator. Billy, to lead as many people to Christ as he can before he dies and Steve, to lead as many people to apple as he could before he died.
So what is my point? I just happened to read these two books at the same time. I can relate to both these men. I am a Christen like Billy Graham (a speck beside a mountain) but a believer. I am a self made business person like Steve Job (Again a speck beside a mountain but an achiever.)
I have learned life is like the weather with good days and bad days and when we are going through a bad time (a storm) it will pass and the sun will shine again. When we are young we think little of death and place little value on time. Maybe we are programmed that way. As young people we are advised by parents, teachers, employers, friends and others as to how we should live our lives. For Christians we have Sunday school and Church. I don’t remember anyone telling me I would someday die and that I only had so much time on this earth to accomplish what I wanted to do or what God wanted me to do. Maybe they did but the first time I felt that realization was when my mother passed away. I had lost a father, a step father and my youngest brother but it never dawned on me that my time was limited. I had always planned to build my mother her own little house and she passed away before I accomplished that.
You see it is Death that makes life worthwhile. Death is the goal post at the end of life. For Christians, death is the gateway to Heaven. Once you realize you are going to die, each day becomes more important. Once you realize your loved ones are going to die, your relationships become more important.
Death is not to be feared. Death is to be used as a catalyst to make the most of your life. I believe both Billy Graham and Steve Job utilized the knowledge and realization that their time here on earth is limited as a catalyst for tremendous and extraordinary accomplishment. Perhaps this realization is something we all could apply to our own lives. Just a thought.
Spring is coming and I’m looking for Robins!