Plymouth Congregational Church

God for All

Jesus Played the Fiddle – part 1

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And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.Matthew 25:40.

At 7:15 AM, January 12, 2007, a young musician took his position against a wall in a Washington, D, C. metro station. He wore jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt, and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. He opened a violin case, removed his instrument, he threw a few dollars and pocket change into the case as seed money, and began to play.

He played for the next 43 min. He performed six classical pieces. During that time 1,097 people passed by. They tossed in money to the total of $32.17. Of the 1,097 people…

  • 7 paused longer than 60 seconds.

  • And of the seven, 1, only 1, recognized the violinist

Joshua Bell

Three days prior to this metro appearance staged by the Washington Post, Bell filled Boston Symphony Hall, were just fairly good tickets went for $100 a seat. Two weeks after the experiment, he played for a standing room only audience in Bethesda, Maryland. Joshua Bell’s talents can command a $1,000 a minute. That day in the subway station, he barely earned enough to buy a cheap pair of shoes.

You can’t fault the instrument. He played a Stradivarius built in the golden period of Stradivari’s career. It is worth $3.5 million.

You can’t fault the music. Bell successfully played the piece from Johan Sebastian Bach that Bell called, “one of the greatest achievements of any man in history.”

But scarcely anyone noticed.

No one expected Majesty in such a context. Shoeshine stand on one side, kiosk on the other. People were buying magazines, newspapers, chocolate bars, and lotto tickets.

Who had time?

This was a workday. This was the Washington workforce. Government workers mainly, on their way to budget meetings and management sessions.

Who had time to notice beauty
in the midst of busyness?

Most of us will someday realize that we didn’t have the time either; or is it take the time? From the perspective of heaven, we will look back on those days, those busy, cluttered days, and realize that was…

Jesus playing the violin

Jesus wearing those ragged clothes

Jesus in the orphanage

Jesus in the jail

Jesus in the cardboard shanty.

The person needing my help was Jesus.

There are many reasons to help people in need.

Benevolence… Do we, in today’s society, understand the meaning of the word? How many times have you said, in a shamefully judgmental manner, “Oh, so and so is just benevolent about the whole matter;” in the context of lack of care or concern.

I will admit, though I have a passion for words, and am in my (cough cough) 40s, I still have a few things to learn. So when Pastor Bill reigned in and said, “Benevolence is good for the world,” I figured I better do some research.

For those that were rafting with me, check this out. According to Dictionary.com the definition for “benevolence”:

be·nev·o·lence [buhnevuh-luhnsnoun

1. Desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness: to be filled with benevolence toward one’s fellow creatures.

2. An act of kindness; a charitable gift

 3. English History . a forced contribution to the sovereign.


  • Well, I’ll be a purple polka dotted monkey riding a bicycle, I was misusing the word this entire time.

 Benevolence, the act of doing something … Good! Kind! Giving!

 We all float on the same ocean. When the tide rises, it benefits everyone. To deliver someone from poverty is to unleash that person’s potential as a researcher, educator, or doctor.

 As we reduce poverty and disease, we reduce war and atrocities. Healthy, happy people don’t hurt each other.

Was it Johnny playing the fiddle, or was it Jesus playing the fiddle threw Johnny?

Why did Johnny take the bait?

Did he see Jesus in his hands before he answered the Devil’s taunts?

Was Johnny a
Healthy, happy person?
Who would Johnny have hurt by accepting this challenge?
Does the Devil only live in Georgia? 

 Healthy, happy people don’t hurt each other.

Benevolence, the act of doing something … Good! Kind! Giving!


 Can we be benevolent toward Jesus?

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Author: bkbites

Stay at home Mom of 3 boys, 1 goofy dog, 2 wickedly crazy cats, and a traveling husband. Ah, what can be better? It's a full life without a doubt.

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