Sermon Illustrations

PEOPLE DON’T PAY ATTENTION

Most people ascribe to the belief that seeing is believing. What you see is what you get. In January 2007, the Washington Post did an experiment to test what people see. They arranged for a young man named Joshua Bell to play music at the Metro station. By most measures, he was nondescript--wearing jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt, and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money and began to play. For the next 45 minutes, Bell played Mozart and Schubert as over 1,000 people streamed by, most hardly taking notice.

If they had paid attention, they might have recognized the young man for the world-renowned violinist he is. They also might have noted the violin he played--a rare Stradivarius worth over $3 million. Just three days earlier, Joshua Bell sold out Boston Symphony Hall, with ordinary seats going for $100. In the subway, Bell garnered about $32 from the 27 people who stopped long enough to give a donation.

What we see is not always reality. The people at the subway station saw just another out-of-work musician playing for change. The reality was that they were witnesses to a world famous musician.

(SOURCE: From a sermon by Charles Riner, "What Do You See" SermonCentral.com, 7/1/08)

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