NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–One day last year a man walked up the steps of a busy Washington, D.C. Metro station and stood against a wall beside a trash can.
To people rushing by on their way to work he was just a guy in jeans, a T-shirt and a baseball cap. He took a violin from a case, put the case at his feet and threw in some money so people would know their donations were welcome. Then he started to play.
He played for the next 43 minutes, performing six classical pieces as more than a thousand people walked by.
Not one of them recognized Joshua Bell, the Washington Post reported, “one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made.”
Three days before he had performed before a full house at Boston’s Symphony Hall, where the so-so seats went for $100. But on that morning, with government employees bustling past, Josh Bell was just a street musician who didn’t attract much attention and raked in about $32.
I wonder what my reaction to Josh would have been that day. Would I have noticed him? Would I have discerned his incredible talent? Would I have appreciated the beauty of the music? Or would I have walked on by so consumed with my own agenda that I missed the opportunity to partake of something rare and wonderful?
Unfortunately, I am sure I know the answer: I would have totally missed him. I would have been one of those people who just walked on by.
This made me wonder — what else am I missing? As I study Scripture, I see that even Jesus’ disciples often missed the activity of God.
A classic example is when as Jesus began to prepare the 12 disciples for His death, Peter took Him aside and told Him He shouldn’t talk of such things. Jesus immediately rebuked Peter: “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (Mark 8:33 NIV). Peter totally missed it!
I must admit that I am too much like Peter — not mindful of the things of God, but rather mindful of the things of men. How many times do I go about my day so consumed with my own agenda, my own plan, my way, my goals . . . and I miss out on God.
How do I get so preoccupied? I spend far too much time consumed with the things of men, far too much time looking at the world with my limited sight and leaning on my own understanding.
I do not want to live this way anymore. I want to have eyes to see God, His plan, His way. I want to see things from His point of view. I do not want to be so focused on my own agenda that I miss God.
The choice is for each of us, every day — the things of God, or the things of man.
Harold Harper is executive vice president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.