Missing opportunities

Several years ago, one of the world’s finest violinists (Joshua Bell) tried an experiment. He decided to play – unannounced – in a metro station in Washington, DC.

He was warned by experts that a crowd would certainly gather and that he would need extra security because surely many people would flock to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Joshua brought his 1713 Stradivarius violin (which was worth millions of dollars) and began to play the six most beautiful songs in his repertoire.

Picture this scene for a moment: the world’s greatest violinist playing the world’s greatest music on the world’s greatest instrument in a very busy place.

Each passerby in that metro station had a quick choice to make.

Do I stop and listen?

Do I throw in a buck, just to be polite?

Do I have time for beauty?

Check out what happened:

In the 45 minutes that Joshua Bell played only seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance.

Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run (for a total of $32 and change).

The most startling statistic of all is this: A thousand people walked by because they were in a hurry, hurrying past Joshua Bell because they had other things to do**.

What opportunities are you missing out on?

Unfortunately, we do the same in our relationship with God.

We get so busy and distracted that we miss hearing His still quiet voice or we miss His presence with us.

We need to slow down.

We need to put aside the distractions.

If we don’t, we are in danger of missing out on some great opportunities!

What do you think you would you have done if you were in the that Metro Station?

** Some of the information used in this post was from Gene Weingarten’s article “Pearl’s Before Breakfast” from the Washington Post.

Categories: Christian living


  • It’s sad but it’s true. We’re all too consumed with our day to day lives that we live on an auto-pilot. We are so disconnected with our inner guidance because we operate on our logical side (our mind) all the time. It’s time to slow down, and start improving that relationship with our intuitive side. That’s the only way we could hear what God is telling us, and start paying attention to the opportunities He gives us all the time.

  • What a great analogy. We don’t always know what’s right in front of us if we aren’t open to the opportunities. Thanks Kevin. Beauty or ‘perfection’ in itself isn’t enough to make us stop and marvel, our minds and hearts have to be turned and tuned in to perceive it.

  • Jazmin says:

    I definitely agree with this…Thanks for the realizations you have provided here then…

  • Mika Castro says:

    Very true. There are a lot of reasons why we missed out opportunities that comes along our way. I agree that we need to put away all hindrances to get what we really desire.

  • Jarrod says:

    I love the spend this message took in the end. I agree, too often we’re missing opportunities because we are not acknowledging God in all our ways such as Proverbs 3:6 tells us to do. In fact, I love how The Message Bible puts it. It says, “Listen for God’s voice (that still small voice you mentioned) in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.”

    I do believe that the path God is guiding us to are those opportunities that we’ve been missing along the way. If we’ll take out a little time to seek God, we’ll seize the opportunities of a lifetime!

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    Jarrod Clark

    • Hi Jarrod:

      I love how The Message Bible puts Proverbs 3:6 too. We must always be listening for God’s still quiet voice. In order to do so we need to remove the distractions so that we can hear!

      Thanks for sharing!

  • ella says:

    a great post to stop and reflect thank you

  • Anna says:

    Great post! The lesson to be learned (for me) here is that we should always keep our eyes open for oportunities and possibilities as they usually pop up when least expected. These passangeres never realized the opportunity to be able to listen to such an amazing violinist, because they did not expect to have such a talent making a performace right there.

  • Andy Nathan says:

    It is amazing the opportunities we are presented with in retrospect. It is just a matter of taking the moment right now and deciding how you want to live your life.

  • Hum … with all due respect to the artist and his enormous talent, I feel there may be another reason for the response, or I should say lack of response. Not everyone appreciates classical music regardless of the location, let alone in a busy terminal during rush hour. In fact, I’d be willing to bet even if the music were more upbeat there would have been greater interest.

    Funny thing is I actually have personal experience with a similar experiment – Narita Airport, Japan. A dozen travel industry people from Hawaii – spur of the moment – broke out the ululeles and started singing and dancing hula in the terminal. We drew such a large crowd – who chanted for “more, more” security finally had to ask us to move on.

    • I am not sure if the response would have been much different with a different type of music. I think the issue is that when we are busy and distracted we will miss out on whatever is in front of us. We need to slow down so that we can see the opportunities around us.

      Thanks for sharing Marty!

  • I am afraid we might all be ashamed if God showed us just how many opportunities we really miss each day. The opportunity to share the gospel, say a kind word, love the “unloveable” are so easy to miss in our modern culture. It really does take a level of effort to slow down and pay attention. Sometimes it even requires the use of the word no.

    • Very good point about the need to say “No!’ This has always been difficult for me but I am beginning to see the blessing in that word. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing Gerald!

  • Ashwin says:

    I concur. I missed half of the opportunities because I am not physically present in the U.S. I missed a lot more opportunities because either I wasn’t looking, I was unengaged, I had other things to worry about, or because I didn’t want to work that hard.

    I totally agree with Kevin here. Slow down.Slow down.

  • I’ve heard this story before, and I thought what a dreadful commentary on our society that they don’t appreciate such a fine musician or his Stradivarius. But the truth is, I don’t know what Joshua Bell looks like, and I wouldn’t know a rare, priceless violin if I saw it out of context… so, much as I dislike admitting it, I know I would be one of the 1000 who passed him by with scarcely a glance.

    That said… I am learning to keep my eyes and ears open to watch for opportunities in unexpected places.

    Willena Flewelling

    • I would have probably walked right by too. Part of that would be not being familiar with Joshua Bell but mostly it would be because I am focused on something else or distracted.

      Thanks for sharing Willena!

  • El baya buyiba says:

    I would have to agree. We are missing a lot of opportunities because we are too busy doing other things. But wouldn’t god be something we are also doing and for so we are missing bigger things? What if we live this life? what is the point of following god ? If you say it is heaven, then aren’t you just being good because it would bring you better things, and therefore annulating the goodness? What if we create our moral? Why don’t we create ourselves? Why shouldn’t this life be enough? You should all live your lifes so that in this very moment you are capable enough of dying.

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