A travelling preacher was making his way through the Iowa countryside, looking for folks that might want to attend his upcoming Christian revival church service. He saw a farmer in the field, working under his tractor. The preacher parked his car and headed over to talk with him.
“I say good man, are you a member of the Christian family,” the preacher asked.
The farmer looked up from underneath the tractor and said, “Sir, the Christian family lives about two miles down the road.”
The farmer did not catch the preacher’s message, so he tried again. “No, no brother, I mean are you lost?”
The farmer looked surprised and replied, “No, I don’t think so, I’ve been on this same farm for 30 years.”
The preacher, having lost his patience, shouted, “Brother, what I mean to ask you is, are you ready for the judgement day?”
The farmer paused for a moment and then asked, “Well, when is this judgement day?”
The preacher, now exasperated exclaimed, “Well, I don’t really know, it could be today, or it could be tomorrow, it could be any day for that matter!”
The farmer pulled himself out from under the tractor, looked at the preacher and said, “When you know when this judgement day is coming, please let me know as I think my wife would like to go both days.”
How often have we watched people from the same organization, talk to each other in the same language and still take different meanings from the conversation?
Remembering my dad tell this story, (yes, we are from Iowa) is a gentle reminder that just because two people speak the same language does not always mean they take away the same meaning.