Tarun Reflex

April 28, 2008

The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are here to read the last will and testament of Howard ‘Red’ Stevens.”

Ultimate GiftRed Stevens was a self-made man who gave his family everything — and ruined them in the process. Now, as his estate of oil companies and cattle ranches is divided among greedy and self-serving relatives, one member is singled out for something special: Red’s great-nephew, Jason.

In a darkened room, isolated from the rest of his family, Jason is confronted by the image of his deceased great uncle on a video monitor… and so begins a 12 month quest for purpose and meaning in an empty life, as Jason attempts to complete the tasks required to receive Red Stevens’ greatest bequest….The Ultimate Gift.

What would you do to inherit a billion dollars? Would you be willing to change your life? Jason Stevens is about to find out in Jim Stovall’s The Ultimate Gift.Red Stevens has died, and the members of his family receive with greedy anticipation their millions. But a different fate awaits young Jason, who, according to his great uncle Red, …may be the last vestige of hope in our family. Although to date your life seems to be a sorry excuse for anything I would call promising, there does seem to be a spark of something in you that I hope we can fan into a flame. For that reason, I am not making you an instant millionaire.

The book is written in parable form, so it is easy to read. As the story opens a man has just died, (Red Stevens) and has left his dearest friend, the lawyer, to be the executor of his estate. To most in the family he leaves wealth with some conditions imposed. But to one young man,(Jason) Red recognizes a spark, something special, and he wishes to convey to that young man the lessons that a life of privilege have kept him from being able to learn.

According to the conditions of the will, every month for 1 year Jason must complete a task toward the ultimate gift. He is directed toward these tasks by a video his Uncle Red has left for him. Each task teaches one principal that he missed out on learning, largely due to his uncle’s money.

The principles taught are as follows:

  • Gift of Work
  • Gift of Money
  • Gift of Friends
  • Gift of Learning
  • Gift of Problems
  • Gift of Family
  • Gift of Laughter
  • Gift of Dreams
  • Gift of Giving
  • Gift of Gratitude
  • Gift of a day
  • Gift of Love
  • The ultimate gift.

Each month Jason has to learn about these principles. I won’t spoil the story by giving you the whole plot but will tell you that the discovery of these gifts take Jason on a wild and crazy journey that help him learn and internalize these principles into his own character. At the end of the year, Jason truly becomes the man that he was meant to be, and he does receive the Ultimate Gift.

One example of how the lessons are learned by Jason, is when Jason must take 1500 dollars he earned when working during the first month, and the second month has to give it away to people who it will really make a difference in their lives. Jason is a playboy and has easily dropped 1500 dollars before partying with his friends, so he has no real concept of how money can make a difference in someone’s life.

He finds an old woman whose husband can’t afford his cardiac medication, and by giving her 200 dollars he is able to buy 3 months worth and really make a critical difference in their lives. He also helps a young mother who is about to have her car reposessed by paying the last 400 dollars on her loan. Through this lesson, as he spends the 1500 dollars he comes to the realization that money, when used properly, can have a huge impact for good in someone’s life.

I hope that you will read this book and pass it on to the young people in your life. These life principles apply to people of any age, and the younger they are learned the more they impact our lives.


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