Back in 2005, the late Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, spoke at the Commencement ceremony at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. In his speech, Jobs uses three accounts from his life that left graduates with something impactful to take along on their journey out into “the real world.”
He closed his speech with a story about “The Whole Earth Catalog.”
“When I was young, there was an amazing publication called ‘The Whole Earth Catalog,’ which was one of the bibles of my generation,” Jobs explained. “It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.”
Jobs continued, “Stewart and his team put out several issues of ‘The Whole Earth Catalog,’ and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words ‘Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.’ It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.”
Stay hungry and stay foolish. Great advice for every leader, every church, every believer. Don’t allow yourself to get too comfortable: stay hungry. And don’t allow yourself to become too cautious: stay foolish. Keep taking risks, even though risks increase your losses — and losses don’t come without pain.
Paul compares the risky life to the cautious life in 1 Corinthians 4, declaring, ”We are fools for Christ’s sake,” (1 Corinthians 4:10). Upon reading this chapter I’m reminded and challenged to renew the commitment made more than 30 years ago to stay foolish until this race of our lives is done.
This week, let’s remind ourselves to not get too settled into our own comfort zones that we lose the zeal and childlike faith that brought us into a relationship with God in the first place.