Reading Christian fiction is unusual for our book review team. I’ve read on from Randy Alcorn. Some haven’t read one. There are some reactions from the team on this book but eventually when they dive in they like it. So “The Ultimate Gift” by Jim Stovall is first dip on the waters of Christian novels for them.
The story of “The Ultimate Gift” opens with the Red Stevens, a wealthy man, his will and testimony he left to his lawyer and friend Theodore J. Hamilton. He left a multi-billion dollar estate that leaves everyone wanting for it. He gave each relative their inheritance except one. Jason Steven his 24 year old great nephew will not receive anything until he learns something about himself, his uncle and about life. He will follow and do everything his uncle’s wishes before he can have the “Ultimate Gift”. Jason hates his uncle and his friends specially Mr. Hamilton. Every month Mr. Hamilton and Ms. Margaret Hastings show Jason videos of his uncle before he died. Those videos will lead Jason Stevens to do things his uncle Red wants him to do and discover. Jason then embarks on a spiritual journey and eventually to the “Ultimate Gift” his uncle prepared for him.
One of our review teams was struck by the chapter titled “The Gift of Friendship”. Jason’s uncle told him how he got sick and the need for his kidney to be replaced. Sadly they can’t find a kidney donor. Red Stevens almost lost hope till someone offers his kidney. It was Mr. Hamilton. Jason barely moved by what his uncle told him. Red Stevens adds that not all friends can do what Hamilton has done for him. From then on Jason started to change and all the lessons his uncle wants to teach him gradually he took it by heart. What an amazing journey in finding purpose in life. In every gift in life there are lessons to be gained for the purpose to live for it. Every gift mentioned in the book will stretch our aspirations in the journey we call life.
Although this book takes on a spiritual journey of sort and has a touching story that is very fitting to have it on the big screen, it has some shortcomings. First, the gospel is not presented which will be great if this book will be shared with unbelievers. Second, gifts are not used as springboards for more and deep Biblical lesson. Ultimately, “The Ultimate Gift” will be a book that can be shelved with Mitch Bloom’s “Tuesdays with Morrie”and the other clones of that bestseller.
Jim Stovall’s “The Ultimate Gift” is a nice read for Christians who wants an alternative from the usual non-fiction books. It might be use as a starter for Christians who would like to try Christian fiction genre. But to dig some biblical and theological food on this, readers should find it somewhere else. Jim Stovall gave the reader a spiritual/heartwarming novel on finding beyond this fleeting world has to offer. Life is not all about getting what we want but living for a reason God has set to us.