Dr. Harold Finch may be the world’s most interesting man. While his childhood was full of poverty and rough patches, the one-time NASA engineer, college president, and entrepreneur has experienced more situations than most of us have even considered. But now, as the executive producer of the fictional film Unlimited that is based on his life, Finch looks back and sees the way that God moved him through a diverse life to prepare him for each moment that came next.
Thanks to the development of the Barbecue Roll, the thermodynamic computer system that keeps astronauts safe from extreme temperatures in space, as well as the foundation of Johnson County Community College and two separate 500-level businesses, thousands of people have gathered to hear Finch’s principles through the 750 seminars he has given worldwide. “There’s something in my portfolio that almost everyone can connect with,” Finch believes. “When YWAM (Youth With A Mission) approached me, they wanted to take the principles I had been sharing, and make sure they could still be communicated after I was no longer able to travel. They believed a movie would be the best way to do that.”
YWAM was particularly interested in Finch’s teachings because they realized that university students were coming out to hear Finch, even while that same generation was leaving the church. “We didn’t want to preach to the choir,” says Finch. “Fred Thompson [who plays Finch in the film] did his homework, through reading about me and conversations we had. But we wanted to make sure that the film was attractive to people outside of the church.”
Having screened the movie for people who know him and audiences at large, Finch says he was excited by the responses, especially those who didn’t expect a quality movie because Finch had no background in filmmaking. “Everything I’ve ever done has been foreign to me, so I’ve always had to rely on experts in those fields.”
In the film, Thompson portrays Finch as a retired professor/engineer living in Mexico, running an orphanage. When a young college student shows up with the keys to a powerful, revolutionary power source, Finch is drawn into a mystery that involves the cartel, a murder, and the intricacies of faith.
Looking back at his life, Finch sees himself in the young college student. “I wasn’t sure who I was or what I was doing back then,” Finch remembers. But thanks to the intersection of Finch’s life with orphans like the real life Joseph of India (Juan in the film), he began to see his potential and the way he could tap into it.
“We need to be teaching these things to kids today,” he proposes. “Our lives are like a three-legged stool. If you knock one of the legs out, the stool falls over. But we are body, soul, and spirit; they all work together.”
In addition to his entrepreneurial life and his work on behalf of God, Finch holds his family high. As we wrapped up the interview, the engineer/educator/filmmaker shared his beliefs on what made his marriage work for more than half a century.
“Be sure to be equally yoked before marriage,” he began. “My wife didn’t understand moving from science to higher education but she never questioned. She said, ‘If God is speaking to you, go for it.’”
“More than anything I did, it was my wife who made our lives work. I just tried to plan my trips around the kids’ events, and worked on projects while they slept. I did my best to be flexible.”
Quoting Proverbs 3:5-6, Finch says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
In so many ways, Finch’s life proves that by following God, the path may appear to be crooked and unconnected, but by the grace of God, that path’s potential will be revealed - in the lives of each person who will believe.
Unlimited, an exciting action/adventure film, is available now.