What would happen if a world-class musician performed elegant classical music on a priceless instrument in a busy train station in an American city?
A little more than ten years ago, The Washington Post did a little experiment in their own city to find out for themselves. The musician was Joshua Bell, who can earn upwards of $50,000 for an evening’s performance. The instrument was a three hundred year-old Stradivarius violin valued at $3.5 million. The music included the works of Bach and other masters.
The experiment was captured on hidden camera. How did people respond?
During Mr. Bell’s 45 minute performance, 1,097 people passed by. Twenty-seven people dropped spare change into his open violin case, for a total of $35. Seven of them stopped what they were doing to listen for at least one minute. The other 1,070 people hurried past, oblivious, uninterested, unmoved.
It made me wonder how I might have responded had I been among the busy people in that Metro station that day. I probably would have missed it too, and I suspect you might have as well. The sad reality is, we miss such moments of wonder and grace every day.
How many times do we encounter truth, beauty, and excellence, without giving it a second look? How many messages of hope do we ignore? How many demonstrations of grace do we disregard? How many divine appointments do we overlook? What are we missing, trying to make our next train?
What would happen if, as a habit, we all started noticing a little more? I have made it a goal this past week to try to look beyond the surface-level, to not miss how the Lord is working, to see His fingerprints on every circumstance, to hear Him in every conversation. It is amazing what you see and hear and notice when you just pay attention.
May I suggest you give it a try as well. Open your eyes in the midst of your busy-ness and recognize those brief opportunities for wonder that God sends your way each day. And make yourself available for how He wants to use you to deliver some “moments of grace” in this midst of our crazy stressed-out world.