I was listening to a story on the radio last week about Ron Wayne. You know? Ron Wayne? Well, you probably don’t know Ron Wayne, but you are most likely familiar with the company he help found. Ever hear of Apple computers?
Wayne was the third member of the Apple tri-fecta that started the company in 1976. Ron helped design the original Apple logo and just ten days into the new startup, Wayne sold his 10% share in the company. Wayne was the only member of the team who had real assets on the line. As the company was in its infancy, he became worried that Jobs’ free spending, combined with Wozniak’s flashy style (Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were the other two founders) left him worried.
How much did he make in his buy-out? $800.
Today, that 10% share would be wroth 22 billion dollars!
Hindsight is 20/20, and I certainly can’t cast judgment on Ron Wayne’s decision to sell his shares. He had the most to lose on this young company, and the personal computing industry was entirely non-existent. If Wayne had stayed in and the company had belly flopped, history would have called him a chump for investing in an unknown startup in an unknown industry.
On the other hand, Wayne had a lot to gain. $800 is more than pocket change to most of us, and more than that was on the line for him. Ten days seems like a fast trigger, however, and the fact that he initially jumped in on this opportunity tells you that he saw some glimmer of hope for the personal computing industry. Today, instead of sitting on billions of dollars in family resources, Wayne is selling stamps, coins and odds and ends collectibles trying to make ends meet.
Not many of us will have billion dollar opportunities come our way. I’m not making fun of Ron Wayne, and I’m certainly not insulting his decision making skills. But Mr. Wayne’s story does make me ask this question: how many times have I passed golden opportunities in my life? Most of them probably haven’t included the possibility for massive financial gain, but what about the ‘billion dollar’ growth chances I’ve passed up? Chances to jump out of the boat, to take a giant risk, and to sit back and see what God will do with a little spiritual risk — how many of those situations have I passed up?
While most of us believe $22 billion would solve significant life problems, most of us would probably settle for a few billion less if we had the chance. And yet, as helpful as big money would be in many ways (and big money also creates some big issues!) I would much rather live with big faith, and reap the long-term — eternal! — rewards that come with living close to my Savior.
I wish Jobs or Wozniak had gone back to Wayne and taken care of his bills. It would have been a cool story to hear that his co-founding friends had generously chosen to pay off his house, give him a little financial boost or just a million dollar “thank you” gift for his 10-day belief in Apple. I’m sure Wayne has had some deep moments of regret over the years, and times he wish he could have turned the clock back to 1976. A token thank you would have been a cool story.
I don’t want to get to the end of my life regretting the opportunities I’ve let slip by. When it comes to my walk with God, I want to be a big risk taker. After all, the moment we step out of the boat and follow God in faith, is the moment we realize that the actual risk was staying in the boat. We lose far more in doing nothing, than we could ever lose in stepping out in faith.
Don’t let a big faith investment pass you up. Jesus is out on the water, calling you to His side, and the ‘pay off’ is worth the risk. Are you ready to invest?
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!