The Story of Joshua Bell

The Story of Joshua Bell

Washington D.C. Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them to work. After 3 minutes a middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

After 4 minutes the violinist received his first dollar – a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. After 6 minutes a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

After 10 minutes a three year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly. After 45 minutes the musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour he finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces of ever written, with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theatre in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

We often walk right past the “free concert” we are given everyday in our God-soaked, God-drenched world.

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