A couple of months ago I re-entered the wonderful world of Junior and Senior High School ministry. Twenty years ago I was a youth ministry in St. Louis. But that was when I wasn’t much older than a youth at the time – 25 years old.
Now I’m 46. I’m the age I felt was old when I was in high school.
I suspect that I’m considered old by the high school kids in my church. I know I am to my own kids (one of which is now in high school).
You would think that many things would change in 20 years. And they have. In 1991, the World Wide Web (WWW – sound familiar) had just come online.
However, that year the WWW could only be used on a NeXT Computer.
What a NeXT computer is isn’t nearly as important as who created the NeXT computer.
Yes, the guy who co-founded Apple Computers!
Last week, Steve Jobs died at age 56 – 10 years older than I am – from complications due to pancreatic cancer.
A lot has been written about Steve Jobs, but there are two things that Steve Jobs said that caught my attention and really made me think.
The first one is this:
“I want to put a dent in the universe.”
This made me think about what Steve Jobs did with his life. Yes, he made a boat-load of money. But from what I read and heard about him, that wasn’t the reason he did what he did with his life. His motivation was to make a difference. He had a dream of doing things that went beyond the two feet around him. I get the impression that he didn’t really think of himself in a selfish way. His approach to life was not “what’s in it for me” but rather one of “how can I make a dent in the universe.”
This is a good way to live. But I didn’t think that way when I was in high school. When I was a teenager, I thought only of myself most of the time. Most of the things I did were designed to make me feel good. I did them to have fun and didn’t really think all that much about what other people thought.
I see this in high school kids today. I’d like to tell them what I needed to hear more often when I was their age, that there is more to life than just “me.” But that I also can “make a dent in the universe” through what I do and say.
There’s nothing wrong with having fun and feeling good. But there is so much more for a son or daughter of God. You don’t have to wait till you are older to make a dent in the universe. Look up and look out beyond you.
So a lot of what I do with the youth group today is based on a question, “What are you doing to make an impact in the Kingdom of God?” A corollary to this question is “Is what you are doing bringing glory to God’s name?”
I never gave that much thought when I was their age. I wish I had. Maybe I could have gotten to some very important and impactful things a lot sooner – and could have made an even larger dent in the universe.
The second thing that Steve Jobs once said just floored me.
“I want my kids to know who I am.”
He said this in answer to the question, “Why did you authorize your biography and sit down and do so many candid interviews for it?”
Steve Jobs was afraid that the only way for his kids to know him was to make sure a biography was written about him.
How sad is that?
I want my kids to know who I am. So I spend time with them. Lots of time. I pitch to my sons until my arm feels like it’s going to fall off (then I feed balls into a pitching machine). I sit with them as they fish. I play Wii bowling with them (but not as often as they would like, I suspect). I worship with them daily through devotions and prayer. I eat dinner with my family at least five nights a week.
That’s how I’m making a dent in the universe. I won’t invent some new technology like the World Wide Web or an incredible piece of electronic gadgetry like an iPhone or iPad. I won’t make billions of dollars.
I will make a dent in the universe by loving my kids – and the kids I minister to in our church’s youth group. They won’t need a book – or an ebook – to know who I am.
And I will tell them of the love of Jesus Christ. I will do it by making it a goal that everything I do will be so that God gets the glory and others will know I work in God’s Kingdom.