Recent storms reminded me of this story:
A man who lived by the river heard a radio announcement that the river would flood and evacuations were ordered. When his neighbor asked what he planned to do, he replied, “I’m a religious man. I prayed, and I have faith that God will save me.” He stayed in his house while his neighbors left.
Later, as the river rose to his front door, a man came by in a rowboat and called for him to get in. “No,” the man said, “I’m a religious man. I prayed, and I know that God will save me.”
As the river continued its flooding, the man found he had to evacuate to his roof while the rest of his house became submerged. A helicopter came by, and a rescuer threw a rope ladder from it to the man on the roof and yelled for him to grab on to it. “No, no,” the stranded man yelled back. “I’m a religious man, and I’ve prayed about this, and I know God will save me.”
The man perished.
When he got to the pearly gates of heaven, he saw God and was angry. “I prayed and prayed and you didn’t answer me.”
God simply said, “I sent you a radio warning, a rowboat and a helicopter. What more did you want?”
The moral: Never lose sight of the message and your recipients’ ability to grasp it. Make sure they get it.