The Strange Story of Apple’s Forgotten Founder

Ron Wayne

By now, just about everyone on the planet knows that Steve Jobs founded Apple Inc. Many people also realize that Steve Wozniak was a cofounder when Apple was launched 40 years ago.

But the most intriguing founder of Apple was Ron Wayne, the third member of the team. Wayne had a 10% stake in Apple when it began, but he soon relinquished it because of fears of personal liability if the company didn’t do well.

In an attempt to explain his decision, Wayne later said:

There would be significant bumps along the way, and I couldn’t risk it. I had already had a rather unfortunate business experience before. I was getting too old and those two [Jobs and Wozniak] were whirlwinds. It was like having a tiger by the tail, and I couldn’t keep up with these guys.

Because of these fears, Wayne surrendered his share of Apple for just $2300. Today 10% of Apple would have been worth about $70 billion.

Ron Wayne’s choice to bail out of Apple may well have been the worst financial decision in human history—losing out on $70 billion just to play it safe.

But before we’re too hard on Wayne, we each should ask ourselves whether we’ve made similar bets. Have we missed out on God’s provision because we feared failure and were unwilling to take the necessary risks to succeed? Have we bailed out of some enterprise too early, right before our breakthrough came?

Perhaps you have regrets about some decision in your past, wondering what might have been if you had hung in there a little longer. As Ron Wayne predicted about Apple, there will be “significant bumps along the way” if you do the right thing. But the payoff might be beyond your wildest dreams.

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Gambling on God

Why Are So Few People ‘All In’?

I love the old maxim about risk-taking, “Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.” Yet, when I look around, I’m concerned that fear is holding many people back from the necessary steps to make progress or have a significant impact.

My fellow baby boomers seem especially prone to this common trap. We took risks in our younger days, some of which paid off, while others were brought devastating losses. But now we find it all too easy to play it safe and hedge our bets.

If you’ve talked with any financial planners recently, they’ve probably advised you to limit your risks as you get older. Be safe. Be conservative. Hang on to what you have. Don’t be too adventurous in your investments.

But those same advisors will admit that you’re unlikely to receive a substantial return on those “safe” investments. Small risk, small rewards. No risk, no rewards.

The same is true about our spiritual lives. Remember Jesus’ story about the guy who decided to bury his assets instead of risk losing them? Sadly for him, he ended up losing them in the end anyway (Matthew 25:14-28).

No decision could be riskier or more shortsighted than to opt for a risk-free life. First of all, such a life is impossible to find, since there will always be risks along the way. And even if you somehow succeeded in eliminating all risks, your life would be incredibly boring and unproductive.

Several decades ago, God gave me a vivid mental picture while I was praying. I saw myself playing poker, and I had amassed a very large stack of chips. Suddenly, however, I pushed the entire stack to the middle of the table and shouted, “ALL IN!”

Hmmm… I can’t help wondering if I would still be willing to take such a risk today. Although I claim to be entrusting my entire life to the Lord, lately I’ve only been giving Him the chips I’m willing to lose. And while I’ve succeeded in minimizing my risks, my rewards clearly have diminished as well.

As a student of the Bible, I’ve concluded that we need to grasp a couple of important lessons about risk-taking:

  • If God truly has told us to do something, obeying Him doesn’t constitute a “risk.” Before walking on the water, Peter wisely sought and received a green light from Jesus. Things were going fantastic at first, as they always do when we trust and obey. Peter only ran into trouble when he took his eyes off the Lord (Matthew 14:25-32).
  • Often we must take a step of faith, even when we have no direct guidance from God or assurances about the outcome. I love the story of Jonathan’s plan to defeat the Philistines, despite his lack of resources and manpower. His message to his armor bearer shows a commitment to do “the right thing,” even though God hadn’t told him what to do nor promised him victory: “Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the Lord will work for us, for the Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6). What a challenging statement for those of us who want ironclad assurance from God before we embark on any endeavor. He doesn’t always work that way! Sometimes we need to “take a chance” on a noble venture, hoping God will come through for us.

After they each took a bold step of faith, Peter and Jonathan both received supernatural assistance. Peter had gotten direct encouragement from the Lord in his quest to walk on water. Jonathan, in contrast, trusted God and hoped for victory solely by virtue of his worthwhile mission.

When was the last time YOU took a significant risk, relying on God’s help? Like Peter, has Jesus been beckoning you to take a seemingly risky step, leaving the safety of your “boat”? Or do you find yourself in a situation more like Jonathan, where your heart says to take action, despite an uncertain future?

One thing for sure: You don’t want to be like the turtle who allowed fear to keep him hiding in his shell. If you’re trusting God with your life, you’ll need to stick your neck out from time to time. Your life will surely be more exciting and fulfilling that way.

The Bible is pretty clear that God prefers risk-takers to those who insist on playing it safe. Yes, when you take risks there will be some losses as well as gains. But if you ever start to sink among the roaring waves, He will lift you up again—and I bet He will even applaud your effort.

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Living in Sin–Unawares

What if I told you I thought you might be living in sin? Offended and defensive, you likely would protest, “What do you mean? I’ve been faithful to my spouse, I go to church nearly every week, and I even tithe.”

If our conversation continued, you probably would add that you don’t cheat on your taxes, lie about your neighbors, or take the Lord’s name in vain.

Congratulations on all the things you are doing right, and on all the evil things you’re abstaining from. But my question remains: Are you unknowingly living in sin?

Here’s what I mean…

God reminded me recently of this amazing statement by the apostle Paul: Everything that does not come from faith is sin”  (Romans 14:23).

Let that sink in for a moment. It means that even if we are trying to do the right things, we’re still “living in sin” if we’re not acting in faith and relying on God. Anything  we do is sin—even if it is well-meaning—if it doesn’t proceed from an active trust relationship with the Lord.

“Sin” (Greek hamartia ) basically means “to miss the mark.” And that is exactly what happens every time we trust in our own abilities and insights rather than on Christ living within us (Galatians 2:20, Colossians 1:27).

You see, without faith it is impossible  to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Unless we’re relying on God, our attempts to be righteous will inevitably fall short, and we’ll end up with a frustrating and unfulfilling life (Romans 7).

So let me ask you again: Are you living in faith or in sin? If you are trying to live the Christian life in your own strength, you will surely fail (2 Corinthians 5:7, John 15:1-5). Positionally,  you might be “the righteousness of God”  in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), but experientially  you will be falling dreadfully short of His plan for your life.

Entire books have been written on what it means to walk by faith. But I’m convinced that genuine faith is much rarer than we commonly think. For example…

  • We’re unlikely to get much out of the Bible if we read it merely as a religious exercise, without adding faith and a life-giving relationship with the Holy Spirit.
  • Attending church because it’s the religious thing to do is much different than gathering with God’s people in expectation of life-changing miracles.
  • Paying our tithes out of obligation or fear is entirely different than sowing financial seeds into God’s kingdom with faith and expectancy.

Be honest: When was the last time you actually took a “risk” because you sensed God leading you to do something? If you’re constantly playing it safe in life, you might want to check and see if faith is having any role at all.

The rich young ruler thought he was an exceptionally holy guy (Mark 10:17-22). But despite his commendable religious deeds, it turned out that he was living in fear and unbelief—trusting in his wealth instead of in the promises of God.

I’m praying today that the Lord will expose our areas of fear and unbelief. May He show us the areas of our lives where we’re no longer operating in faith and dependence on Him. As the old hymn tells us, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

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Take Off the Training Wheels!

Good leaders are like training wheels on a bicycle. They are a indispensable to get you started, but they’re removed once you’re able to ride on your own.

The transition away from training wheels can be scary, but it’s exhilarating to discover you can succeed without them. You can travel farther, faster, and have lots more fun on the journey.

Good parenting is the same way. Newborn babies are utterly dependent on their parents for their very survival. But gradually they mature and become self-sufficient, able to navigate life on their own. Wise parents understand this process. They are willing to remove the training wheels at the appropriate time, even though this involves a certain degree of risk.

However, some leaders—and some parents—insist on keeping the training wheels on for too long. Either they are fearful of an accident, or they simply love the sense of being “needed” by those they lead.

Ephesians 4:11-12 says leaders are called “to equip God’s people to do his work.”  You see, the purpose of “training” wheels is to train  people to ride without them.  Do you see the parallel here?

Any other kind of leadership is self-serving and even toxic. Wise leaders and wise parents will resist the urge to create a culture of dependency. Like a mother eagle, they will prepare the next generation to FLY!

Of course, some people don’t want their training wheels removed. They are scared to ride through life without constant supervision and control. No wonder there are so many codependent families and churches—not to mention codependent politicians and their constituents.

As you assess your own relationships today, consider taking a step of faith and removing some of the training wheels. Entrust yourself and the people you are leading to God (Acts 20:32). Yes, some oversight and accountability may still be needed, but learn to maximize freedom.  Teach people to depend on the Lord instead of on you.

This is the only way people can soar into their destiny. I don’t think you’ll see any training wheels in heaven.

 

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