Small Group Questions

At The Movies: Steve Jobs     

Introduction:

Average movies entertain us. The best ones inspire us. There’s nothing like watching a good movie. You’re caught up in the story, on the edge of your seat, feet glued to the floor, a bucket of popcorn in your lap. If you want to laugh—there’s comedy. If you want to cry—there’s a romantic movie. If you want to jump—there are scary movies. Thrills, action, drama—everything we long for, because we love stories. We long for adventure. We long for good triumphing over evil. During the At The Movie series, we will explore the Biblical themes of these popular movies by extracting biblical principles and examining spiritual truths in plot lines, stories, and characters.The point is to point you towards Jesus. The point is Jesus. Because if we focus on Him, it leads us to the right choices in life. This week we look at Steve Jobs.

Something To Talk About:

Before his death and even after his death, you read and heard a lot about Steve Jobs. Many people were early adapters of Apple products buying Macintosh computers in the mid 80’s all the way to the newest iPhone. And all those products are connected to Steve Jobs. He has been compared to greats of American business such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Sam Walton.  But all that success did not translate into success in the area of parenting and relationships.

While Steve Jobs is portrayed in the movie as a visionary, it also paints a fairly harsh picture of him as a father. He largely ignored a daughter he fathered in his 20’s for the first years of her life, which seems inexplicable given that Jobs was adopted and angry at having been given up by his birth parents. We do not know if he was a good parent or not, but it seems that he didn’t invest the same energy and time in shepherding his children as he did shepherding his company. So what can we learn from somebody who was uber successful shepherding his company but seemingly not as successful shepherding his family? 

Effective parenting is complicated, but certainly a large part of it boils down to time and priorities. Steve Jobs had a multi-billion dollar baby called Apple which was his passion and his priority. What is our passion and priority when it comes to our children? The Bible has a lot to say about that subject. In Psalm 78 God commanded us to teach our children that they might have hope in God. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 instructs us to teach our children when we get up, when we walk throughout our day, when we sit down, and when we lie down. In Proverbs 22:6 we are told to train up our children in the way they should go. Luke 6:40 says that a pupil, when fully taught, will be just like his teacher.

As parents, we have to work at being the best example we can be to our children. That means we have to be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, becoming more like Him every day. It also means we have to nurture them the short time we have them. In Walter Isaacson’s biography, Steve Jobs expressed little regret or dissatisfaction with himself, except for his repeated wish that he had spent more time with his children.

At some moment every parent will be in a conversation and say, “She graduates from high school this year.” Or “Tyler just got his driving license,” then pause, and add, “Where did all those years go?” What happened to those days I would tuck them into bed by reading The Chronicles of Narnia to them? All of those moments gone too quickly. One of the most important things you can do for your children is to give them your time and to enjoy being with them. Kids can sense when you genuinely enjoy their company. Spend quality time with them when they are still small. If you do, they will remember when they get older. “Dad, do you remember when …?” You smile not because you remember, but more importantly your child still remembers. Take some time today, this week, this month, to enjoy your kids while you can. And, treat them kindly. They’re God’s special gifts, entrusted to your care for a few short years.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What ideas or images come to mind when you hear the word Christian? Why?
  2. Although Steve Jobs was not a Christian, do you believe he used his God-given skills to the full? Why or why not?
  3. What great memories have you recently made with your kids?
  4. How do we make normal things spiritual and spiritual things normal?
  5. Why is it absolutely necessary to talk about God within your family?  What is the purpose of speaking to your children about God.? What keeps parents from making their family a spiritual family?
  6. Do you think you spend enough time with your children? Why or why not?
  7. How will we know if we are being successful parents? 
  8. How can we do this week to better prepare our children for the real world? 

Take one thing home with you:

Though Jobs was considered a Buddhist and not a Christian, he unintentionally made some significant contributions to Christianity. That is the conclusion of a blog post written by Harvest Christian Fellowship pastor Greg Laurie entitled, “Steve Jobs – The Man who Helped Bring the Gospel to our Generation.”

Steve Jobs helped pave the way for more people to hear the Gospel. Before Jobs, there was no such thing as an iPod, an iPhone or and iPad. Now these things are an every day part of our lives.

There is a ton of Gospel content you can listen to on your Apple device. Steve Jobs put a Bible, whatever version you prefer, in everyone’s palm. He gave us the ability to listen to Christian music on any number of Apple devices in any location. As one person said, “I don’t think there is a man alive today that has unknowingly had such an impact on the proclamation of the Gospel as Steve Jobs.”

God has invested massive creative abilities in his human creatures. These are often used for good, and sometimes deployed to evil ends. Steve Jobs devoted his life to a technological dream that he thought would empower humanity. Along the way God used him to further the gospel.