No. 692



If you know someone whose life has been completely ruined because all their needs were met by others and they never had to struggle or work a day in their life, what I am going to share with you in this column will be a revelation. As we all know, there are thousands of people like this all across our country. Maybe you are one of them. Thanks to a thoughtful reader, Davie Noles, who reads my column in The Courier, published in Russellville, Ark., I now own one of the most worthwhile and valuable books that I have ever read. It’s titled, “The Ultimate Gift” and was written by Jim Stovall, who I will tell you more about later.
This book only contains 123 pages, but does it ever pack a wallop, mainly because Jim Stovall is such a gifted writer. Here is the story line. Howard “Red” Stevens was a self-made man who earned a huge fortune in the oil and cattle business. When he died he had his long-time friend, Boston attorney Theodore “Ted” Hamilton, assemble all of his relatives in his law office conference room to read his last Will and Testament. The estate was to be divided among greedy and self-serving relatives, with the exception of Jason Stevens, Red’s great-nephew. Jason never saw it coming, but he was in for the experience of his life, one that completely changed his attitude, behavior and perspective.
To put it mildly, Jason acted like an ungrateful spoiled brat, which he was, but over the coming year this was about to change. You see, Red Stevens had worked out a plan with Ted Hamilton for Jason to take the next 12 months to learn some of life’s most valuable lessons one at a time, and the gifts he had been given. He was to learn the gift of work, the gift of money, the gift of friends, the gift of learning, the gift of problems, the gift of family, the gift of laughter, the gift of dreams, the gift of giving, the gift of gratitude, the gift of a day, the gift of love and finally the, “The Ultimate Gift.”
The plan was for Jason to learn these valuable gifts, a different one each month, in order to receive his inheritance. He was free to stop or quit at any time, but if he made that decision before the end of the full year, he would forfeit his inheritance. To provide the motivation for Jason to continue, before his death, Red Stevens had actually videotaped a personal note to Jason for each of the 12 months to keep him from becoming too discouraged. Each month as Jason returned to the law office to receive his next assignment, he could actually see and hear his late uncle talk with him about life and the lessons he learned the hard way.
As the months went by, you could just feel the changes taking place in Jason’s life, as he learned many painful and often rewarding lessons, especially as he learned the gift of family, the gift of giving, the gift of love, plus many others. Jason did succeed and his rewards were great as far as his inheritance, but I will leave you to ponder “The Ultimate Gift” as you may want to get a copy of the book and read this exciting saga for yourself. The publisher is Executive Books, 1-800-233-2665,
At the end of the book, Jim Stovall gives his phone number in case readers wish to contact him. I would not do this column without his permission, so I gave him a call. What a blessing to talk with him. Jim Stovall is a world renowned author and speaker, has written a number of books and is totally blind. He is president and co-founder of the Narrative Television Network in Tulsa, Okla. Should you have a need, contact him at
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)