It was my junior year of college, and my computer started to die. I have this theory that manufactures purposely make laptops last exactly four years to make sure their customers keep coming back for more.
I needed a new computer, and I had a friend who worked for Apple. He was an Apple Genius, that was his job title. What a good company to work for. “What do you do for a living?” “Me? I’m a genius” (pompous head nod).
My friend, Logan, who worked for Apple and was trying to talk me into buying a MacBook for my next computer. Sold between 2006-2011 and aimed at the consumer and education markets, it was the best-selling Macintosh in the history of the company’s existence.
My only hesitation was that I had previously owned a PC. And everyone knows to switch from PC to Mac is to switch operating systems. And to switch operating systems is to switch religions.
But I was tired of the suit-and-tie, corporate-New-York, boomer computer and was ready to switch to the skinny-jean, Californian-rebel, postmodern, Bob-Dylan computer.
I had some cash saved from my summer job, so I went to my friend Logan and said, “Okay! Convert me.”
I still remember opening up the soft, smooth, box made of silk cardboard and taking out the glossy, white combination of polycarbonate and fiberglass. I just stared at it and it just stared back at me. I held it close and I heard it whisper, “We were destined to make beautiful things together.”
This was a spiritual experience.
I thanked my friend for bringing me out of darkness and into glorious light. He said, “You think this is cool? Apple is going to do something that’s gonna blow… your… mind!”
He said, “I can’t say much because I’ve signed Apple’s Confidentiality Agreement. I could get fired or even sued. But just imagine a new kind of computer. Imagine something so interactive there was no need for a mouse. No need for a keyboard…” The crazy look in his eye was starting to creep me out, I thought maybe he was talking about the mark of the beast. I didn’t know.
“Imagine something you didn’t even have to open up, something you could manipulate just by touching it. And, it being even cheaper than the laptop you just purchased.” I felt like I was watching a private presentation from Steve Jobs.
This company doesn’t hire salesman because their employees do it for them naturally.
I had just purchased a brand new product that I was thrilled about, and he had me already wanting a different one. And I didn’t even know what it was yet.
Maybe he really was a genius.
The year was 1999. The end of the year was approaching and the new Millennium was encroaching. They called it Y2K; I’m still not sure what that stood for but it had people in a frenzy. Suburbia was in a state of hysteria.
It was believed at the time that computer programs would shut down, the entire online market would crash, we would somehow be invaded, war would break out, and it would be the end of the world as we know it.
Wal-Mart capitalized on this by stocking up on can goods, water bottles, and generators and people bought it all. The days were counting down, and everyone was anticipating the unknown.
Families held each other tight in their make-shift bomb shelters while my sister and I were probably at some party. Some people’s behavior changes when they think the world is ending — whether it’s Wal-Mart, over-protective parents, or those people who steal electronics from store fronts (you see them in every end of the world movie).
Because belief is behavior and behavior is belief. One’s view of the future determines one’s present conduct. The future is not something trivial. Theologians call the theology of future: eschatology. Eschatology is vital to godly living. This is why prophets told about the future because they knew people govern their lives in the present based on what they knew about the future.
People can say what they want, but what people do is what they believe.
What do you believe?
Does what you do, line up with what you say you believe?
If not, perhaps you don’t really believe what you say you do.
April 3, 2010: the iPad releases in Apple stores all across America. It was a new kind of computer something so interactive there was no need for a mouse or keyboard. It didn’t fold anywhere and you could control it by a simple touch of your finger.
It wasn’t the mark of the beast.
I’d been wanting this device since before I even knew what it was. This was the messiah that the prophet of Apple had spoken of! So I did what anyone would do.
I started saving.
I saved for a long time.
About a whole year.
The good thing about it was just when I had saved up enough money to buy it, Apple had just released the iPad 2! Here I thought I was a year behind on experiencing the magic. But now I was going to have a front row seat to the latest model.
But something started to happen when I finally saved up enough money. I wondered what good that money could do elsewhere. I had been envisioning myself with the iPad. Even visiting the Apple store to play with the floor model so that when I got mine I knew exactly what to expect.
But something was holding me back. It was as if I had saved that money not for an iPad but for something else. My definition of life became broader than the Apple store and my belief about the future was becoming bigger than myself.
It wasn’t easy but it seemed right.
The game of greed is easy to get into because it’s sexy, but extremely difficult to get out.
Shortly after, a friend was visiting us in California. We all went out to eat at a restaurant near our apartment and he asked me if I had gotten my iPad yet. I told him no, and explained I didn’t know if I was going to.
He reaches under the table and pulls out an iPad and a case and slides it across the table and stares at me.
I said,” What’s this?” He said, “It’s yours.”
He said “I felt like God spoke to me and said to give that to you.”
Jesus says what a person is cannot be confused with what a person has.
There is way more to us than just the stuff that we accumulate.
It will all burn up anyway. There’s something in us that will outlast everything else we own.
This is what we should be focusing our energies on. Besides, we don’t really own anything anyway.
We’re not owners, we’re managers.
If you think you own anything, you’ve already deceived yourself.