They’ll be standing around saying, ‘I don’t get it!’
Published 10:09 am Thursday, September 21, 2023
By Lloyd Albritton
I have always heard that the best way grab an audience’s attention when giving a public speech or presentation is by telling a joke or a funny story. Let’s try that and see how it works. Here is one of the funniest stories I know.
A man saw a newspaper ad recently that read, “FOR SALE, Talking Dog, $5.00.” He decided to check it out, so he went to the owner’s home to make an inquiry. “Do you have a talking dog for sale?” he asked the man who came to the door.
“That’s right,” replied the other man. “I have a talking dog for sale.”
“And you are only asking five dollars for him?”
“That’s right,” the man replied, “Five dollars and he’s yours.”
“Do you mind if I talk to the dog personally?” the inquiring man asked. “Just to make sure he really can talk?”
“Not at all,” replied the dog owner. “He’s right out here in my back yard.”
The man approached a big German Shepherd dog lying in the backyard and said to him, “Good Morning, how are you doing?”
To his great surprise, the dog replied, “I’m doing great; and how are you doing?”
The man then went on to engage the dog in a rather lengthy conversation, wherein the dog rehearsed an incredible tale about his long working career as a CIA agent. “I worked undercover in several of the big drug cartels,” boasted the dog. “Since I was a dog, they did not know I could talk. In the end, I testified in court against them and we sent several dangerous drug lords off to prison. These days I am retired and I just hang out here in the back yard.”
Afterwards, the man walked back into the house to talk with the dog owner. “That is the most incredible thing I have ever seen,” he marvelled, “but I don’t understand why you would sell a dog like that for only $5.00.”
“Well, I will tell you the honest to goodness truth,” the owner replied, “and then I think you’ll understand. You see, that dog ain’t nothing but a big ol’ liar. He’s never been out of my backyard!”
Get it? Pretty funny, right?
Would you believe it if I said that I have told this very funny joke to lots of people who didn’t laugh at all? That’s right, not even a snigger! They just looked at me with a straight face and said, “I don’t get it!”
Well, that’s okay. I understand that some people simply do not have a “sense of humor.” That’s just the way they are. They don’t get humor. When you try to explain it to them, they just look at you sort of dumbfounded and say, “Oh!”
Humor is not the only thing people don’t get. Sometimes we don’t get profound truths found in religious, philosophy and science literature. In the Bible Jesus’ disciples asked him one time why he spoke to the people in parables. He replied, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. .. Therefore speak I to them in parables, because they seeing see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand” (Matthew 13:10-13).
When I was young, I knew a wise old man who mentored me in lots of ways. Whenever I asked him a complex question he would often, like Jesus, respond by telling me a story; then he would gaze up into the air and muse for a moment, chuckle under his breathe, and walk away, leaving me to wonder what the heck he had just said to me. I didn’t get it!
Sometimes it took me days, weeks, or even months of pondering that old man’s words before I came to understand them. Understanding did not come easy. I had to work at it, perhaps do some study and research of my own before the light of understanding came on. When that happened, I would silently exclaim, “I GOT IT!” It was like suddenly getting the punch line in a good joke days after hearing it.
To be sure, I have also had to read some of the parables of Jesus many times before I understood them, and even then my understanding was not complete. They required more study, more thought, and more work. Most profound truths are like that. They require study, contemplation, prayer and even practice before understanding can be complete. The Apostle John said of Jesus, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3).
Sometimes it is impossible to acquire a complete understanding of certain deep principles and concepts without actually giving them a try to experience for ourselves what results they produce. Only then do we “get it.” Jesus said, “…every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (Matthew 7:17). In the end, “the proof is in the pudding!”
Many Christian principles fall into this category. For example, it is very difficult to persuade a man who is struggling financially to feed and clothe his family that he would be better off financially if he payed his tithes and offerings first. Tithing is a principle that is virtually impossible to fully understand without actually doing it. Yet, many faithful Christians who practice paying their tithes and offerings testify to the truth of it. Likewise, unbelievers often scoff at the concept of charity and generosity. They don’t get how a person can become richer and happier by giving to the poor. Only by living such a principle as this can we truly understand it.
Yet, there is perhaps still an ultimate secret to acquiring an understanding of deep, profound things. When Simon Peter declared to Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus responded by saying, “…flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:16-17). Surely, true knowledge and understanding is always, in the end, a gift of God which God gives to those who seek it, but does not give to those who do not seek it. Those non truth-seekers, I’m afraid may be destined to stand around looking dumbfounded for the rest of their days mumbling, “I don’t get it!”