October 7, 2011

Visitors, Apple and Coke

This week we were privileged to have two 'cousins' from Holland visiting with us for 8 days. Our great-grandfathers were cousins, originating from the fishing village of Elburg. We have formed a strong bond of friendship and spiritual unity with Hanneke and Amanda over the years, as we visited back and forth with their families. Ever since it was known that I was diagnosed with ALS, they have been following my journey via Facebook, email, and our blog. "We just had to come to cry with you", they said. And we did. They are 'kindred spirits'.

We have been touring Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls, St. Jacobs Farmers Market, Cora's, The Mandarin, etc. I call them my 'equipment managers', getting my walker and wheelchair in and out of the car. They have helped me make the transition from walker to wheelchair with loving support, dignity and grace. "Are you OK with that?", they asked. "Yeah, I'm OK with that", I replied. It's another step on the journey - step by step. Family and friends are a huge encouragement helping me on the way, but I know that eventually the path will become single file. Then we need to walk alone with the Master, or more accurately be carried by Him. (Psalm 77:19)

Steven Jobs, the creator of the Apple iPod, iPhone, iPad, and the MacBook, died this week from pancreatic cancer. Jobs has exchanged time for eternity. He was a genius, a very successful businessman, had an almost cultic following, and was a practicing Buddhist. Apple is worth about $350 billion on Wall Street, and is the most known brand name on the globe, even surpassing Coca-Cola. Jobs talked about how a sense of his mortality was a major driver behind the vision of producing an excellent product that the world wanted to buy. “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,” Jobs said during a Stanford commencement ceremony in 2005. “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.”

There is a lot of truth and value in what Jobs said about focussing on what is important in life, and that his impending death helped him to make the 'big choices'. But Jobs erred in 'following his heart' rather than following God and His holy Word. He tried to obtain peace in his heart through self-denial and self-improvement, but we know from experience that true peace can only come from being reconciled to a holy, righteous God through faith in His Son. Spending quality time with family, friends, and Church folk is a priority in life, but to be washed in the blood of the Lamb is the number one priority. "How much money is enough?" someone asked billionaire John D.Rockefeller one day. "Just a little bit more", was his famous answer. Success, fame and fortune can never fill the God-sized hole we all have in our heart. It can only be filled by Him, and then it overflows with love to others.


  1. Thanks Jack. Beautifully written!

  2. Jack, I have been reading and following your blog for several months, but am just commenting now. Not sure if you remember me, but I am the middle daughter of Tom and Judy de Vries. I grew up next door to Jim and Nellie de Vries, my uncle and aunt. I want you to know that I am so encouraged by your strong faith in Christ and bold witness for Him as you trust in His plan for your life. Thank you for blessing others in the midst of your trials.
    Sarah Schuringa