Once upon a time there was a huge flood. A man climbed onto his roof to escape the rising waters. A rescue boat appeared with a lifeguard in it, urging him to come on board.
‘God will protect me,’ the man replied, ‘I have lived all my life as a devout believer.’
The waters continued to rise. Twice more the rescue boat returned and twice more the man refused to climb aboard. The boat left to rescue others.
Eventually the flood engulfed the whole house. The roof disappeared beneath the waters, and the man was drowned.
In heaven he encountered God. Furious that God had not rescued him, he complained loudly: ‘All my life I have been devout. I have obeyed all the commandments. I have given large sums to charity. And the only time I asked for anything you abandoned me.’
‘But I sent a boat three times,’ God explained. ‘Why didn’t you get in?’