Muddling through

2 Kings 5:1–14

When I became a seminary administrator, a colleague at another school gave me this advice: "People always act from self-interest. When you approach them with a plan, they'll invariably ask themselves, 'What's in it for me?' Figure out the answer to that before you propose anything, and approach issues accordingly." Pared to its core, it seemed that my job was to outfox selfish louts bent on advancing their own agendas.

I discovered that my colleague was only partly right. If people acted only from simple self-interest all the time, things would be easy. But it's more complicated than that. We're all impelled by a bewildering array of interests, contradictions and passions (self-interest being the friskiest, but not always the strongest), most of which we do not know and never name.


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