Originally Written for 10/28/08
It was bound to happen again, though I still don’t understand why or how. September 28, 2008. New Jersey Symphony violist Ann Roggen accidentaly left her violin, valued at $40,000 in a taxicab. Yes, it was returned.
Apparently, this is fairly common for musicians.. How about April 23, 2008? Violinist Phillippe Quint, who spent months begging the owner of a 1723 Stradivari violin valued at approximately $4 million dollars, left the instrument in the back of a taxi cab in Newark. And on April 25, 2004, Peter Stumpf, who is the principal cellist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, left a a Stradivarius cello valued at around $3.5 million in a taxi cab in LA. In January of 2004 violinist Gidon Kremer left a violin worth about $3 million on an Amtrak train. And about 9 years ago, New York City police had to help Yo-Yo Ma recover a $2.5 million cello that he left in a taxi cab. Oh, let’s not forgett Lynn Harrell, who in 2001 left a $4 million Stradivarius cello in a taxi.
Look, I have a guitar that is worth, uh, let’s say no where near $4 million – not even any where near $4000 (shoot – barely $400!) – and if I take it with me when I travel I know where it is at all times and make sure I don’t leave anyplace without it until I return home.
But too often I do leave valuable stuff behind. Perhaps it’s the unkind words I say to my wife or daughter in anger that communicates a belittling attitude, or maybe it’s how I fail to listen to my friend when he needs me and it communicates a sense that other “stuff” is more important.
Perhaps it’s how I sometimes walk into work and act as if Jesus is reserved for Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, but the rest of the week belongs to me.
It’s easy to look down on someone foolish enough to forget a $4,000,000.00 instrument in the back of a taxi, but how often do we leave Jesus in the backseat of our car when we arrive where we’re going? And he’s worth far more than $4,000,000.00.
To make it worse, these people didn’t even own the instruments they left behind – they had very little vested interest in them. Maybe that’s why they forgot about them. Is that how we treat Jesus? As a “savior on loan”? But as soon as we’re done using him we forget about him?
I certainly hope not. Lord, give us the courage to share you with those around us in every way we can, not so they will know we belong to you, but so they will come to know you through us.