On Making Demands

I will not offer to the Lord my God
sacrifices that have cost me nothing.
                —2 Samuel 24:24

An anti-fossil-fuel faction of students demanded that St John’s College, Oxford, divest an endowment of $10 million that was invested in Shell and British Petroleum—immediately!

Andrew Parker, Principal Bursar, who was responsible for the college’s assets, made this counteroffer: “I am not able to arrange any divestment at short notice. But I can arrange for the central heating in the college to be switched off immediately. Please let me know if you support this proposal.”

Not-surprisingly, those calling for the school to take a long-term loss were not willing to make a short-term sacrifice of personal comfort. It usually comes down to whose ox[ford]—(sorry, couldn’t resist)—is being gored. Many make demands of others that carry no cost to themselves.

Consider the level of your willingness to sacrifice before asking others to.

Don’t tolerate in yourself
what you find distasteful in others.

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