Why You Aren’t Dead Yet

Several weeks ago, I had lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in years. He had just turned eighty years old. His mind was as sharp as ever—witty, inquisitive, and focused. He was also a great listener. When he did speak, wisdom dripped from his lips like honey.

After reading this blog post, Greg Surrant, Senior Pastor of Seacoast Church, decided to preach a sermon series on the topic. His creative team produced the video above to promote the series.

In a point of genuine humility but uncertainty he asked me, “Michael, do you think I have anything left to contribute? Are my best days over?” Tears welled up in his eyes.

I admit, his question caught me off-guard. I thought to myself, Here I am with one of the wisest men I have ever met. He is a living treasure. I would pay for the privilege of sitting at his feet and listening to his stories. And he is asking me whether or not he has anything left to contribute? I was flabbergasted.

I leaned in, grasped his hand with mine, and said, “Jimmy, listen to me carefully: your best days are ahead of you. I am not saying this just because I like you—and I do like you—but because it is the truth. I can prove it to you.”

I then began to make an argument that I first learned in The Noticer by Andy Andrews. In the book, Jones, the personification of wisdom, makes six points to Willow, a seventy-six year old lady, who had given up hope that she had anything left to contribute. (see chapter 6, pp. 83–85).

  1. God has a purpose for every single person.
  2. You won’t die until that purpose is fulfilled.
  3. If you are still alive, then you haven’t completed what you were put on earth to do.
  4. If you haven’t completed what you were put on earth to do, then your very purpose hasn’t been fulfilled.
  5. If your purpose hasn’t been fulfilled, then the most important part of your life is still ahead.
  6. You have yet to make your most important contribution.

Jones goes on to say,

If the most important part of your life is ahead of you, then even during the worst times, one can be assured that there is more laughter ahead, more success to look forward to, more children to teach and help, more friends to touch and influence. There is proof of hope . . . for more.” (p. 85)

My friend, Jimmy, sat back in his chair and was silent for a full minute. I could tell he was taking it all in. Finally, he said, “Then I better get busy. It sounds like I have a lot of work to do.”

You may be old. You may be sick. You may be divorced. Your kids may not be speaking to you. You may be out of work. You may be broke. You may be discouraged.

But you’re not dead yet.

And that’s proof that you still have not completed what you were put on earth to do.

Question: Is this a new thought? What does it make possible in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Ira Webbe

    Honoring elders is wise. A truth about the concept of being still in purpose as long as you are alive is found in the word of God. In the word there is a truth that reveals God multiplying, constantly and excessively grace into our lives, which tells us that we all continually gain the power of God as long as we breath.

    An elder by virtue of this truth is a wellspring of grace(given they believe) and wisdom. This power extends to a directional groan or thought….so any elder, or any one else for that matter,  can still pray for other people’s path to be cleared based on their wisdom and it be done; showing their purpose still at work.

    This may not sound glamourous for our fascination with noteriety but that doesn’t make it less true. I hope for the days when many elders pray over me and I am able to pass that on.

  • http://thekevinedwards.com/ Kevin Edwards

    This was a fantastic post!  The younger generation doesn’t always see the value in the older because they see them as old fashioned or even irrelevant.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen the older generation begin to alienate themselves because of the stubborness of the younger.  The younger generation is the future of this country, but if they fail to see the value that is held by the older generation because of the sheer life experience then they are destined to make the same mistakes.

    I’m personally love to hear the wisdom of older people.  I probably could do a better job of seeking them out, but I always value what they say.

  • dee

    thankyou so much for this post, i was sitting here thinking you know what all my friends are joining college and moving on , ive done my college but losing my sight has forced me to give up what i loved. I now sing but its sometimes harder than you think. I was feeling overwelmed and helpless and no focus or vision when i read your article. I really dont know why im still here but ther must be some reason, ive just survived major surgery and even the doctor said do you believe in god cos this is a miracle x x x so thankyou for this post 

  • J. Fields

    Could you please share the link to the related video shown at Seacoast Church?  When I clicked on sermon series, it said the link site was no longer available.  Great post – inspiring!

  • Anonnomyous

    I no longer have a purpose. I suggest you log on to sites that describe the chronically sick. We have no hope of recovering and some of us have no hope of really living. Some of us don’t look sick. Search that and read.
     Maybe you can have a ministry for us. Noone else does.
    I am from a Christian background and was one for many years. Now I am athiest about half of the time.
    Although I have never been a liberal, books by Rob Bell have helped me understand that it might be possilbe for God to be a God of love.

  • Drake Hunter

    The only thing I can say is “AMEN!”

  • Daisy

    It makes me ask myself many questions. How will I know what it is? How do I know if I already know?

  • JoAnne

    Wow!  I have a book that I have been writing and it is almost finished; but, lately, I have been thinking that it’s probably not that interesting and who would really want to read or buy it.  It is about my experiences with cancer; I am a survivor.  But now I am thinking that maybe this is part of my contribution to society.  My story is an encouraging one when I tell it to people.  Thanks, like the gentlemen in your post; I better get busy.

  • atletismo veterano

    we have so much to learn from young in heart adults ,by the way i am happy i can speack about God and see thet people here have no problem bout it ,here in Spain its just  not politicaly correct and so difficult to speack about it 

  • Sharon

    Loved the post, although I did get hung up on the typo “new semon series” in the clip. Sorry about that, but I couldn’t help it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Sorry. I didn’t produce the video.

  • Ktingley

    David: As you know I’m no spring chicken at 83 and I still get called on to fill a pulpit
    once in a while and the thought process is much slower.  Too, we are raising two
    grandchildren, ages 11 and 8.  I don’t have the physical capacity or mental stamina I had years ago and I get grouchy and tired.  I wonder often if I should be doing this and if my contribtions are worthwhile. So your e-mail was a tonic.  While we may not
    know what purpose we are to fulfill or doubt if we are suceeding even if we do know,
    if we still have breath, we have a purpose.  Thanks for reminding me.
                                                            Ken Tingley            

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.garner3 Stephen Garner

    Great word.  I want to share this with several people.

  • http://www.4PointsCoaching.com Joel Boggess

    Hi Michael, 

    The wave of emotion is close to over-powering, when I see the spark of hope illuminate within a person, once they realize that God can STILL use them.

  • http://www.4PointsCoaching.com Joel Boggess

    Hi Michael,

    The wave of emotion is close to over-powering, when I see the spark of hope illuminate within a person, once they realize that God can STILL use them.

  • Im4lord

    Certainly the notion that I’m not done yet isn’t new, but the idea that I might achieve some some greater good for God gave me pause to reflect. Too often I feel spent with have nothing left to give and wonder why God doesn’t just take me home. I’m grateful for this reminder the Lord still has a purpose for me, and an important contribution for His glory. I’m not dead yet and i’d better stop saying, “oh darn” with that statement because isn’t that like saying God’s plan isn’t good enough? Bless you for helping me breathe again. anne 

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  • Hi

    If you kill yourself you’ll be dead. Then you would’ve served your important purpose anyways.

  • Guest

    Makes sense… so if I post this to the forum then commit suicide, my purpose in life was to make this statement.

  • Mart Ramirez

    I needed this more than ever, Michael. This brought a smile to my face as I googled something and your blog post popped up in the search. I read your blog regularly and enjoy your books. Thank you for this this. Words cannot express how much I needed this. God bless you.