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God Pleasing Deeds

[I Tim. 1:1-7; Luke 14:12-15] As an indicator of whom to in­ vite to a dinner take for yourself a rule: do not do anything for your neighbor with a view to recompense from him here. But this does not mean that you will spend every­ thing in vain. In due course all will be returned to you. In the Sermon on the Mount about all God-pleasing deeds —prayer, fasting, and alms —the Lord commanded to do them se­ cretly. Why? Because the Heavenly Father will reward you openly. Therefore, a Christian should pre­ pare future bliss for himself through all his labours in life; he should build himself an eternal home, and send provisions there in advance for all eternity. This is not being mercenary, because one’s own material interests as such are limited to this life, while [the fu­ ture] life is to detriment of these in­ terests. Furthermore, it is impossi­ ble to live this way without faith, hope and love towards the Lord. Acting according to the command­ ments in hope of recompense is also an abstract action. And yet it is clos­ er and more distinct for the heart than anything else which is too un­ real, as for example to do good for the sake of good. You will not find the latter anywhere in Scriptures. The higher incentive is here: do ev­ erything for the sake of the Lord and do not fear loss.

Saint Theophan the Recluse