I am deeply haunted by Jesus’ words as he has just begun his three year ministry, gained his disciples, and was talking with the local community.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
This is a model not only for a church and ministry to live by, but businesses and Christians in general. It truly is how I want to conduct myself not only personally, but professionally. And it is the exact opposite way Steve Jobs ran his business and life. I also want this to be a dialogue starter as I know I can only go off the worldview I have with the personal faith and ministry experience I have lived out, so utilize the comments well, but please be respectful.
For all of you Apple fanboys that say I am hating on Apple and Steve Jobs, these are facts, not opinions. Plus, I do hate on them from time to time, so I thank you for pointing that out, even if you are wrong this time. 😉
Steve Jobs has a reputation with the public for being the person that had a vision for Apple that made it into who they are today. Within the technology industry, he is known a little differently. He is seen not only has someone that has a vision, but cold-hearted, ruthless, and not very ethical. Here are a couple of situations just to illustrate:
- Secret No-Recruiting Agreement
This now declared illegal agreement between numerous technology agencies ensured that no recruiters were allowed to contact employees of specific technology companies within the partnership. It is so declared illegal because it locks employees into one culture without a free ability to switch jobs to further their career. Therefore, all technology companies can not worry about giving them more benefits, raises, or really respect.
- Journalists Were Blacklisted
If you said something Apple didn’t like about their product, you were blacklisted. We are not talking about lies, slander, or fraudulent claims here. Instead it is when opinion pieces about the design or experience of Apple’s tech gets negative that Steve adds them to his list. This makes for an ineffective ability to tell the truth and makes complete distrust.
- Illegal/Unethical Labor and Marketing
It is no doubt that Apple has had problems with their labor force using overseas sweatshops, lying about being the inventor of technologies which have been produced for a long time, and knowingly utilizing third-party industries that allow child labor. It gave them maximum profits and a perceived brand superiority. Unfortunately, it hurt so many people.
This has nothing to do with Apple having a superior product, a controlled operating system with the largest mobile application store, or something that “just works.” It has everything to do with what our eternal expectations should be within ministry.
Sadly, many Christian organizations attempt to be the Steve Jobs of their individual markets. I’ve experienced it several times before within a variety of Christian organizations both as a consumer, partner, and “competitor.” I’ve heard so many excuses to justify, minimize, or externalize their actions:
- It’s just good business.
- I need to protect my companies.
- I do it for our customers.
What I don’t see is Jesus being honored in their replies. Sure, their original business was to do business for the Kingdom, but they are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get to the top. A bit Steve Jobs-ie. And unfortunate.
2 Corinthians 13:5-6
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.
I Have A Higher Standard
My standard is one I learned from my father as a Christian business owner in a secular world who holds to a Biblical standard. His ideals are to give the customer what they deserve, not what they want. So when they ask to buy DVD players from him which cost more and are lower quality, he is willing to sacrifice profits to give them a better product. When they ask for an installation, he doesn’t upsell them but is willing to be direct when he knows their observed solution will not be good. And he is always willing to not only get to know his customers, but pray for and with them when needed. It’s not just a business for him, it’s a ministry. I want to keep with that standard and hold up God’s eternal reward in Heaven as my price, not the $2 I gain otherwise.
1 Peter 4:10
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
How I Choose To Move Forward
I don’t plan to “rat anyone out” or “cause controversy” which is why I have not named a single organization. I also plan to NEVER refer anyone who still lives by these expectations to win within their industry. You may provide a great product, but at the cost of your own soul? No thanks.
That being said, I don’t want to be bitter. I will continue to strive forward. Not as someone who has been hurt and therefore ignores everyone giving advice. I am absolutely open to conversations. If you feel like I am talking directly to you, Direct Message me on Twitter or email me at [email protected] and I’d love to talk! But if you don’t want to talk, I have to keep moving forward for the Gospel and serving the Church with the talents and gifts God has given me.
If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.
I feel like this has been a very pointed article that I can finally get off my chest so I can move on.