Do you take time to smell the roses? I would venture to say most of us in Western culture struggle to make time to appreciate and reflect upon beautiful or important things. Pondering this sort of tendency, Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten, on January 12, 2007, conducted an experiment. He arranged to have a musician busk at the Washington D.C. subway station at L’Enfant Plaza. The invited busker donned a baseball cap to go with non-descript black pants and a long sleeved t-shirt. He took his place just inside the main entrance doors, opened his violin case and pulled out a well-worn, well-aged instrument. He also placed the open case before him on the floor to receive donations from any thankful passersby. For the next forty five minutes the man’s interpretation of various classical standards filled the station.
The experiment was videotaped on hidden camera; of the 1,097 people who passed by, only seven stopped to listen to him, and only one recognized him as the world renowned violinist Joshua Bell. For his performance, Bell collected $32.17 from 27 people (plus $20 from the one passerby who recognized him). Just three days before, he earned considerably more playing the same repertoire at a concert. Weingarten won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his article on the experiment. He titled it cleverly: Pearls Before Breakfast.
One man noted afterward: “most people, they play music; they don’t feel it. Well, that man was feeling it. That man was moving. Moving into the sound … you could tell in one second that this guy was good.” Well sure you could, for before you was a violin virtuoso (whose instrument of choice that day was a $4,000,000 300 year old Stradivarius!) – if you actually took that precious one second to find out! All too often the beautiful in life is ignored because of the “urgent”.
I often feel the same way with respect to Jesus. I desire to reflect and commend him to a cluttered culture too preoccupied to care about the most important, most interesting, most captivating man to have walked the earth. Do you ever feel the same way?
This Sunday we are privileged to have evangelist Cory McKenna with us to preach, and I suspect, encourage us in and toward evangelism. Following service, he will also conduct some training for our Bolivia team so please take some time to pray for Cory and our team. One simple book that I have found very helpful in my own discipleship in evangelism is a short book titled simply Who is Jesus? Pastor and author Greg Gilbert has written a wonderful tool that would be a great gift for someone in your life who does wish to stop for a moment and consider the question, “who is Jesus?” The book is very accessible and clear. It is a joy to read and easy to understand, yet doesn’t shy from challenging topics like the atonement or the Trinity. It tells the story of Jesus in an interactive, engaging way. One reviewer writes that Gilbert talks to the reader ‘like he is sitting in a coffee shop with him.’ It therefore makes for the kind of book you could study one-on-one with a friend. It would also be great encouragement to you if you are new to the faith, or simply want to see Jesus with a fresh perspective.
If you want to check it out for yourself I have an extra copy in my office I would be happy to lend to you. Finally, take some time to appreciate some beauty in your life and “smell the roses”; we have so much for which to be thankful!
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.