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Friday, August 30, 2013

Selfless Good Deeds Don’t Exist

In Luke 14 Jesus is sharing a Sabbath dinner at the home of a leader of the Pharisees.  There is a confrontational healing of a man with dropsy (an abnormal swelling caused by excessive build up of fluids in body cavities…) and then a brief teaching time in which Jesus tells some parables that don’t sound very much like parables.

After speaking to the other guests around the table, Jesus turns back to his host and says, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.  And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14: 12 – 14)

Invite the poor because they can’t repay you.  (Not, as in some translations, “even though” they cannot repay you…)  It almost sounds like a perfectly selfless good deed, until he adds the comment about being repaid at the resurrection.

After all, “there’s no unselfish good deed, sorry….selfless good deeds don’t exist.  And you know the deal with Santa Claus, right?

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