Steve Jobs was the primary force behind what is known today as Apple Computers. He is widely recognized as the pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970’s and 1980s, along with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Walter Isaacson published a biography about Steve Jobs in 2011 shortly before Jobs died from pancreatic cancer. He writes that when Jobs started Apple Computers with his friend Steve Wozniak, he also enlisted as a partner Ron Wayne, a middle-aged engineer at Atari. Wayne had once himself started a slot machine company that didn’t succeed. Wayne received a 10% stake in Apple, and on April 1, 1976 a partnership was signed – a 45% division of shares each for Jobs and Wozniak, and 10% for Wayne. But as Jobs pushed a plan to borrow and spend lots of money, Wayne recalled his own failed company. He got cold feet, and twelve days later sold his share of the new company back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800. A year later he accepted a final payment of $1500 to forego any future claims against the newly incorporated Apple. Now listen to this – had Wayne stayed on and kept his 10% stake, at the end of 2010 it would have been worth more than two billion, six hundred million dollars – that’s $2,600,000,000! By August, 2018 that number would have reached $95 billion as Apple approached a $1 trillion market share. Today Wayne, 84 years old, lives in a small home in Pahrump, Nevada on social security checks. Whatever his reasons, Wayne’s decision to bail out of Apple cost him a financial fortune that staggers the mind.
Let us note an important spiritual application. If and when Christians “leave” the church they walk away from a staggering spiritual fortune. At Ephesians 1:3 the apostle Paul declared the source, scope, and sphere or the faithful Christian’s spiritual riches – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” In his commentary on Ephesians, Burton Coffman calls the phrase “in the heavenly places” a “remarkable expression” occurring five times in Ephesians (1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12) and nowhere else. Coffman further posits that the phrase likely means something more than being in Christ’s church, but also admits that “the blessings ‘in Christ’ are certainly those in His spiritual body, which is the church.” That being so, faithful members of the church of Christ (which is the body of Christ – Eph.1:22b-23a) enjoy a breathtaking spiritual fortune! In Ephesians 1:4ff the apostle Paul writes that Christians are chosen in Christ, adopted as God’s children, accepted [by God] in Christ, and enjoy redemption and forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ. All of this came about “according to the riches of His grace” (vs 7b). Those riches are later said to be “exceeding” (2:7), and Paul points to God’s “kindness toward us in Jesus Christ” as a dramatic illustration of just how rich God is in grace – and how enriched we are when we come into Christ and “sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (2:6)! Finally, the apostle writes at Eph.3:8 that the riches we enjoy in Christ are “unsearchable.” I tell you with love – when you leave Christ’s body, the church, whatever the reason, you are no longer “in the heavenly places in Christ” where God placed every spiritual blessing. Biblically speaking, it is impossible to cut yourself off from the body of Christ and not also lose connection with Christ Himself, who is the head of the body. I implore you – learn to love Christ’s church. Walk away from her and you lose a spiritual fortune.