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how we live.

October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs has died.

I have the upmost respect for him and his accomplishments- and the way he transformed the world in his lifetime. I am grateful (as I type on my Macbook Pro) for his influence and his willingness to create.
His impact is overwhelming.

And yet, as I read the articles, skim the blog posts, and listen to the audio clips commemorating his life- I’m struck. I’m struck by his words during the 2005 Stanford commencement speech.
Here is an excerpt:

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went 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?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because 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.”

And I get it. I understand that we should ‘semper fi’- seize the day. Live everyday with abandon.
The all-american dream. The “can-do spirit.”

But I read another article this morning- an interview with a musician my brother told me about.
And the contrast between the two philosophies is remarkable. Here is an excerpt:

“Interviewer: It’s pretty obvious that you and your bandmates have been gifted musically, and you’re pushing your creativity hard. What’s your perspective on the creative arts and how that impacts you as a Christian, and how following Jesus should impact your creativity?

John: I think my perspective as a Christian influences my art more than the other way around. I live in a city where people eat, sleep and crap their work, their art. The cultures of expertise in Chicago really are astounding. People in that tribe have a unique set of motivations, struggles, idols etc. For many of us, art is life or death, work is the end-all be-all of our existence. Not unlike Harold Abrams in Chariots of Fire who gets “10 seconds to justify his existence.” (not sure if that’s the exact quote or not). As a Christian I believe we go on forever. I’ll be writing music long after I’m dead. The urgency comes from a different place. The drama, the pageantry, the successes and failures all mean something different because fundamentally, I believe that I am free. I am free to fail or succeed or do whatever with my music precisely because the weight of my existence isn’t contingent on it.
At least that’s how it should work. I’m certainly still in process.”

What a difference. What hope.

Instead of focusing on the fleeting moment- of dreading or fearing tomorrow- as Christians, we are able to live in the moment. Not because death will eventually occur, but because eternity has already begun.
I have the hope of knowing that eternity allows me to be creative forever.

My pastor talked about grief this past week. And in community group (small group) on Tuesday, we revisited the topic. And we talked about the vast difference between
losing a believer versus non-believer. Hope versus despair. The challenge of losing a soul.

My time here on earth- it’s the only time I have to strive to bring brilliant minds with me into heaven. To share my creativity in a way that glorifies Him.
To love others in my community the way that He calls me to. To make a difference.

So yes, I guess I should live each day as if it is my last.
Not my last day to be creative- or to praise my maker- but to bring others along.

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