According to Maimonides there are 613 Mitzvot that God commanded us. To the best of my knowledge most traditional halakhic authorities clearly state that “good-deed” is not an accurate translation of mitzvah. Commandment is. It seems to me, however, that my understanding is wrong and the concept of mitzvah has indeed changed over time to include a wider range of behaviors such as “good-deeds”.
I have heard actions such as, for example, a child cleaning up their toys, paying a shiva-call, giving a lift to a friend, being texted to help make a minyan, loaning a sweater to someone going out on a date, allowing someone to use your cell to make a call while theirs is recharging, etc., etc., all being referred to as mitzvahs. Am I being too literal or are such behaviors actually mitzvahs? Does context matter?
It just seems to me——although I admittedly cannot prove it——that far too many people these days over use the term mitzvah when describing a rather ordinary act or to guilt someone into doing something for them; oh, please do this favor for me, it’ll be a mitzvah. Is this perhaps a reflection of society as a whole where grade-inflation, political-correctness, etc. is en vogue? Could it be misleading to make people think they are accumulating so many mitzvahs when they are simply doing the right thing?