Not Going to Throw Away My Shot – Hamilton: Driven by Choice"When that time comes, have you chosen Christ to guide your narrative?"
A while ago, both my sister-in-law and my wife asked me to listen to a musical that combined rap, poetry, historical figures and some really catchy music. A few months later, I was taking detours around a collapsed I-85 bridge in Atlanta and singing loudly in the car to “Hamilton”—my love for this musical solidified.
Before it was adapted into a film, I had the honor of watching “Hamilton” at the Broward Center of Performing Arts, where I used to perform throughout grade school, and I was quite impressed by the performances of some of the new cast members. And recently, I was absolutely blown away by watching the original cast perform the musical on Disney+.
I was amazed at the set design, choreography and how each musical number pushed the narrative of Hamilton’s story forward while introducing new characters and themes throughout. If you haven’t watched that yet, stop reading this article now and watch it. It’s definitely worth the $6.99 entrance fee.
“Hamilton” is a brilliant musical written by the insanely talented Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda and his team of musicians, dancers and actors tell a story of a young man who is driven by ambition to rise above obstacles that life has thrown in his path. As someone who has heard stories from immigrant parents who had to rise up and not throw away their shots, I was immediately drawn into the tale of an orphan immigrant who was ready to take on the world and leave a legacy.
I could spend all day talking about beautiful aspects of this story: from the bonds and loyalty of the Schuyler sisters, to the hilarious King George III, to the anguish and conflict of Aaron Burr, the brotherhood of Lafayette, Laurens and Mulligan, the mentorship of Washington and the political drive of Jefferson. But I want to zero in on the star of the show: Hamilton. Serious spoilers going forward…
Hamilton has a rough life—and because of this, he’s a fighter. He will not be held down or held back. He is determined and will accomplish what he sets out to do. He makes friends with Burr, and the two go from friends to rivals and from opponents to enemies.
Hamilton makes choices that not only define his character but have serious effects on his friends and loved ones. His extramarital affair with Mariah Reynolds was a huge mistake that almost cost him his marriage and threatened something else important to him: his legacy.
“Hamilton” has multiple themes—so many, that I could probably write a sermon series on them. I’ll make a note for later. But, one of the main themes I see after multiple listens and views is simply, choice.
Hamilton chooses to make himself better through an education, fighting in the war, studying law and eventually entering the political arena. He chooses Eliza over Angelica (again, this is musical Hamilton—look up historical Hamilton later) and pursues her. They have a beautiful family, but he lets lust and the sin of lying creep in. His choices on how he handles that situation leave lasting consequences, including his ability to run for office.
Hamilton chooses to have a duel with Burr, who is known to be a terrible shot. But the bullet finds its mark as Hamilton chooses to raise his pistol to the sky instead of taking … his shot. Eliza, his supportive wife, forgives him and chooses to carry on his legacy while forging one for herself. And because of that choice, many are blessed.
I have so much more to say on all of this, dear reader, but I want to ask you a few things about your choices thus far: Are you making the right choices along the path that God has laid out for you? Are you choosing the right friends who will fight for the right things by your side? Are you choosing the right romantic relationships that will be beneficial for you, from a spiritual standpoint? Are you making solid, biblical and Holy Spirt-led choices that will help you leave a lasting legacy for those you care about, and maybe those you have never met? What do your choices say about your walk with Christ?
Lin-Manuel’s words echo in my brain:
“I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory.”
My final question is: when that time comes, have you chosen Christ to guide your narrative?