“The Ultimate Gift”

Don’t just live a life, leave a legacy!

Awhile back, we watched The Ultimate Gift (official movie/movement website). We watched it again while visiting family in Tennessee earlier this week. It’s a great movie with the tag line, “A life experience becomes a gift.” The movie is based on Jim Stovall’s book, The Ultimate Gift.

The movie begins with the death of Red Stevens (James Garner), a wealthy businessman. One of his family members, Jason Stevens, expects (as does the rest of the family) a big inheritance. Instead, his grandfather recorded several video vignettes during his final days, which become a crash course on life for Jason. Red states …

So I want to give you a gift—a series of gifts leading up to, well, I wanna call it “the ultimate gift.” Now, you fail in any way, it’s over. You get nothing.

During one of his recorded speeches, Red says …

Our lives should be lived not avoiding problems but welcoming them as challenges that will strengthen us so that we can be victorious in the future.

That’s a great statement!

If you watch The Ultimate Gift on DVD, be sure to watch the beginning of the credits at the end of the movie for a recap of the “gifts,” which include:

The gifts of …

  • Work
  • Money
  • Friends
  • Learning
  • Problems (You don’t begin to live until you lose everything, Red.)
  • Family
  • Laughter
  • Dreams
  • Giving
  • Gratitude
  • A day
  • Love

The music in this movie, composed by Mark McKenzie is good. Our favorite is “Something Changed” by Sara Groves. The song is about life transformation. The chorus says …

And I cannot make it. And I cannot fake it. And I can’t afford it. But it’s mine.

The song, which appears on Sara’s 2005 Add to the Beauty CD, proclaims that life change is God’s work — you can’t make it, fake it, or earn it, it’s a gift from God to all who will receive it.

Since the movie we’ve become very interested in Sara’s music! We especially love her latest single (from her upcoming CD, “Tell Me What You Know” called “When the Saints,” an inspirational song for people who want to change the world).

One of the movie’s sponsors, Once Upon a Family, has put together a kit to help families put the message of the movie into practice. As we prepare for parenthood, we’re thinking about things like legacy and developing strong character in children. This movie certainly comes at the right time for us!

The movie reminded us of Leonard Sweet’s book, SoulSalsa, especially the chapter called, “Bounce Your Last Check.” You can read extensive portions of the book at Google Books (scroll down to page 52 to read a portion of this chapter). In the book, which you’ll find in our list of recommend books for leaders, Sweet says, “Soul artists receive good things gratefully and give it all away in the end.”

We strongly recommend “The Ultimate Gift.” Even more importantly, this is a movie that needs to be more than simply watched and enjoyed, it needs to be internalized and put into practice.

May God help us all to leave a legacy!

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