Maybe you’ve seen The Ultimate Gift. If you haven’t, you should. It’s a well-made movie with an excellent storyline and some incredible actors (James Garner, Abigail Breslin, Bill Cobbs, Lee Meriwether, and Drew Fuller).
Based on the best-selling novel by Jim Stovall, the film is stirring story about discovering what truly matters. The movie begins when a young man is offered the chance to fulfill a series of “gifts”—or, more accurately, tests—from his wealthy, deceased grandfather in order to receive “the ultimate gift.” Throughout the film, we see this young man learn about the value of work, money, friendship, family, problems, dreams, and more. Through his experiences, he is transformed from a self-involved, lazy trust-fund baby to a man who takes on responsibility and lives life to the fullest.
Every time I’ve seen The Ultimate Gift, I have enjoyed the experience, and each time I’ve walked away mulling over one of the concepts from the movie.
Developing the six-week message guide that goes along with the film was a treat, because the Bible has important things to say about every single one of the “gifts” the movie talks about. Digging into what God has to say about money, work, problems, and relationships is like doing a study in the book of Proverbs, but a fun study that is accented by clips from an engaging film.
BUT, while this is all well and good, when one of my copywriters said, “This has to do with right living, but very little to do with Jesus,” it got my juices flowing. She’s right. This film doesn’t have an outright gospel message. But that, in my opinion doesn’t negate the possibility of using it for an outreach movie event. Every concept discussed leads back to God and the way that He created the universe and His ultimate plan for work, life, and relationships. Plus, when you look at everything entailed in living rightly, it’s pretty noticeable that no one has the ability to perfectly reflect these values, and THAT is a perfect segue into our need for a Savior.
So, while the movie may not tell someone they need Jesus, it will, without a doubt, open conversations that lead in that direction—if you are ready to discuss the topics and take them in that direction. Sometimes as believers it’s easier to say, “Watch this movie with me” and let the movie present the Gospel, but it’s powerful when we take a step of faith and tell someone, in our own words, what the Gospel is. It’s more terrifying, but ultimately God has called US to share the Gospel, and THAT is the ultimate gift that we can give to our friends and neighbors.