I have been following Sting’s new Broadway production of the Last Ship for a couple years now as my talented and good friend Fred Applegate is currently playing the priest in the show. The Last Ship is the story about a town in dire economic straits who comes together to build one last ship and bring hope to the community. It is loosely based on Sting’s home town of Wallsend, England and his upbringing with a father who worked in the shipyards.
The opening show’s audience included Robert De Niro, Bill Pullman, Edie Falco, Liam Neeson, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, and many other influencial stage and screen celebrities. When the opening performance concluded Sting came out to say a few words and tell the story of how the Queen of England came to his small town when he was 10 years old to christen a new ship. She drove by his house in a big black Rolls Royce and waved to him. Sting – then Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner – knew that he wanted to be in a car like that one day and determined to find a way to get there. “I was infected with the idea,” he said. “I didn’t want to live in this house. I didn’t want to end up in the shipyard. I had this idea that I could have a bigger life and a bigger world, so here I am.”
It is easy to see how a celebrity’s life or a king or queen’s lifestyle can influence us at any age. Our world and culture has always been consumed with opulence. Yet, having visited 12 countries in the past 2 years I have seen first hand that we have a Rolls Royce lifestyle in the USA. As bad as it seems from our perspective we live in a country of abundance and opportunity. We forget that we don’t have to be a celebrity to influence someone in another country or maybe even next door to us. We just have to care. We have to walk away from our fears, laziness, and the busyness that we get ourselves involved in and roll up our sleeves, give back, and find ways to inspire and influence someone else’s life.
The Thanksgiving season is upon us. Have you made plans this year where you can lend a hand – give back – or contribute to being an influence in someone’s life?
As Sting joined the cast that night to sing the reprise of the title song “The Last Ship” I am sure he left the audience with a bit of hope and inspiration that they too could break out of their situations that seem overpowering and become all that God has called them to be and more.
God’s never finished with you at any age – there’s always one last ship to build.