Steve Jobs, in pain and too weak to climb stairs a few weeks before his death, wanted his children to understand why he wasn’t always there for them, according to the author of his highly anticipated biography.
“I wanted my kids to know me,” Jobs was quoted as saying by Pulitzer Prize nominee Walter Isaacson, when he asked the Apple Inc co-founder why he authorized a tell-all biography after living a private, almost ascetic life.
“I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did,” Jobs told Isaacson in their final interview at Jobs’ home in Palo Alto, California.
Reading this sad comment made me remember a contrasting path chosen by Pastor Larry Osborne. When asked by Leadership Network how he finds time to write, he answered:
I write to a deadline. I am one of those rare writers who doesn’t particularly enjoy the act of writing. I’ve never kept up on a journal more than a week or two. I much prefer having written to actually writing.
But having said that, I love to help people and empower leaders. Writing seems to be the best way to leverage the information and insights God has given me. So I write; usually 4-5 days a week for 2-3 hours per day with early morning and evening the most productive time.
I also currently have the advantage of an empty nest. I took a 13 year break from writing between my second and third book because I felt convicted that I needed to focus my attention on North Coast Church and my three kids. Once all the kids were in college, I took back evenings and weekends as my own and started writing again instead of heading off to an endless parade of their school, church, and athletic events.
By the way, it was a great decision. I have some books that will never be written, but I also have three grown kids who love Jesus, love the local church, and think Dad being a pastor is a cool gig.
Is this some sort of iron-clad law? Writing books and working long hours is de facto a neglect of family? Investing your best time with your family ensures that everything will turn out okay? Not necessarily—on all counts. But let us all proceed with caution, remembering that many families have been sacrificed on the altar of ministry. May God give us much wisdom.