In my workshops, I often show a slide of Steve Jobs introducing us to the first iPad. Then I ask the question, “How should we design our life together, as a congregation, so that we become what Christ has in mind?” The analogy is simple. The success of Apple Computer stems from the vision that Steve Jobs had for insanely great products. Jobs was a tyrant, constantly berating people who were content to make “pretty good” computers and cell phones. The corporate culture at Apple, the work habits of each employee, and the image the company presented to the world all grew out of the vision that Jobs expressed in that one phrase, insanely great products. I believe that Jesus also has a powerful new vision for his people. The Beatitudes, which begin Jesus’ teaching ministry in Matthew 5, is Jesus’ insanely great vision.
In the beatitudes Jesus describes the Kingdom of God. In plain and simple language he tells us that there is an insanely great reward for having faith. We will live forever with God. With God, the poor are rich. With God, those who mourn are comforted. With God the humble and those who feel weak in faith are blessed. With God, those who choose to live with integrity, maintain their marriage vows and sacred covenants, and hunger to do the right thing, will find their struggle vindicated. With God, the merciful will find forgiveness and see just how important the forgiveness they gave to others was. With God, being pure in heart matters. With God, peacemaking is accomplished with joy, laughter, and tears, for we are the children of the great peacemaker. With God, the hatred we have experienced for wanting serve this new kingdom rather than the plastic crowns of earthly leaders and corporations will end.
But the other insane thing about Jesus’ vision, is that it is here already. Today the poor, the mourner, the meek, etc, are blessed. Apple had already established itself as a unique company when Steve Jobs introduced the iPad. The culture of design was already there. The urge to make insanely great products had already been woven into the fabric of the company, and Steve’s early passing did not end his vision. When will the beatitudes become woven into the fabric of the church?