• Pete Johnson
People playing a violin and cello in a public walkway

On January 12, 2007, a young man walked inside the entrance to a Washington D.C. subway station, positioned himself against a wall, and took out an old violin from its case. Dressed in a baseball cap, T-shirt, and jeans, the young man began to play the violin. Sitting in front of him was the open violin case as an invitation to those hurriedly passing by to stop and listen and perhaps contribute a small tip in appreciation of his music. The young man played 6 classical pieces in a span of 45 minutes (two of which were by Bach), flawlessly. During that time 1,097 people passed by him, 27 people tossed in some money as they passed by that totaled $32.17, and only 7 people stopped to listen, but only briefly.

The young man who was playing that morning was Josh Bell, a world-famous violinist. Just days prior he had played in front of a sold-out crowd at Boston’s Symphony Hall. The old violin he was playing was a handcrafted 1713 Stradivarius, which he reportedly paid $3.5 million for. During that January morning, out of the 1,097 busy people who passed by, only one recognized who he was.

Just like those busy people in the D.C subway entrance, we, far too often, pass by the opportunities to recognize the glory of God in our surroundings because we have “things” to do. Some of us perhaps, may stop for a brief moment to spend time reading our bibles and praying, but how many of us stop and fully take in what God has done in our lives and the splendor of his glory in what he has created around us? The majority of people that passed by Josh Bell that day didn’t recognize or appreciate the beautiful music he was playing, nor did they recognize him, because they didn’t know him or the music he played. They may have heard about him, and probably had heard the name Bach, but as they hurried by it was just another street musician performance to them.

Do you know the Savior, Jesus Christ, God’s only son in such a way that you can recognize and praise him through the marvelous things he has done and created?

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” (John 1: 9-10, ESV).