Sometimes the thought of being a person of good works feels just like one more thing on the “To Do” list. Isn’t it hard enough just getting from A to B without adding any more to our busy lives?
what good is a "good deed"
if I don’t feel like it and it’s done with bad grace? What’s the point of that? We know we are supposed to be people who take good works seriously, but sometimes it seems like such a chore when we have so many other demands on our time.
It's here that Jesus’ Jewish heritage comes to our aid. For Jesus, the issue was not whether we "felt like it" or not. That was not his concern. He understood that the world is in need of good works and that we need to understand ourselves as people called to that task. Jesus was not much concerned about motive.
He was concerned about getting the job done.
He knew something else as well; that the act of doing brings about a right heart. A mitzvah, or good deed, not only benefits the recipient but will, if we are willing, transform our own hearts.
“… (a)ll acts,” says Abraham Joshua Heschel, the Jewish philosopher and theologian, “can be established as a link between man (humans) and God.”
And because the Bible speaks of us as being made in the likeness and image of God, we can “act in the likeness of God. It is this likeness of acts – ‘to walk in his ways’- that is the link by which man (humans) can come close to God.”
This simple insight has the capacity to transform our living.
Doing good becomes the means not only of changing the world and transforming our hearts, but connects us more profoundly to the Love that creates us.
Our opening prayer (the collect) for this coming Sunday reads, “Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works.”
We are not on our own. God is with us. Always.
The Reverend Susan N. Eaves