14 Dear brothers and sisters, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone. 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, 16 and you say, "Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well" -- but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn't show itself by good deeds is no faith at all -- it is dead and useless. - New Living Translation
What a beautiful drive into the office this morning! It was just warm enough to turn my air conditioner halfway up (which for my old truck is rolling one window down). The air was crisp and just wanted to make me sing out, and I apologize to all the cows I scared as I passed by. But I just could not imagine anything being more beautiful. That was until she pulled up alongside side of me. She was a candy-apple red, 1966 Mustang convertible with the 289 small block engine and white pony interior. Oh, she was a beaut! Mostly, stock, gleaming and shining in the bright morning sun. The driver was a man who looked just a few years older than me. He had the top down, of course, had on a Mustang cap, just like the one I used to own, and a pair of dark Ray-Ban sunglasses. He had a cherry car and he knew it. He also saw the extreme envy I had; he had to with it being so evident as streams of drool gushed from both sides of my mouth. I only got to fantasize over her until the horn from the car behind me brought me back into reality that the light had changed. the driver of the Mustang just kind of gave a smirkish grin as we both pressed on our accelerator pedals to launch us toward our respective destinations. Then I heard it...the sound with which I had become all too familar...VROOM...pft.pft.pft...VROOM.pft.pft.pft. Then the smell of gasoline started to waft its way toward my nose. I started to hang my head in complete shame when all of a sudden, I noticed something strange out of the corner of my left eye. The Mustang started it trek across my peripheral vision, but traveling in the opposite direction from what I was expecting. It seemed to be traveling backwards. It suddenly dawned upon me that I was the one moving forward and it was not my truck that was sputtering; it was that candy-apple red, 1966 Mustang convertible with the 289 small block engine and white pony interior! As I proceeded on, I saw my dream car sputter into a side street where I knew the driver would then open his hood to wonder why his prized possession would be acting up like it was. Of course, anyone with minimal car knowledge (of which I consider myself to be the posterchild for) will begin to surmise that the culprit is the carburetor.
The carburetor is a component that is rarely found on cars today, having been replaced by the fuel injection system. Its purpose is to mix the right amount of gas and air to support combustion. If too much gas is in the mixture, the engine runs "rich" and will not perform right. If there is too much air in the mixture, the engine runs "lean" and will fail to perform right. For optimum performance, the right mixture of both gas and air is required.
I believe James, the writer of the letter from which comes the above excerpt, would understand this concept. He used a similar postulation in reference to our faith and how we live it out. If we say we have faith (air) but it is not combined with the right amount of action (gas), what good is it? It gets us nowhere. Similarly, if our action (gas) is not mixed with a right amount of faith (air), then again, we are at a loss in our performance. For us to have optimum performance in our lives as followers of Jesus, we must combine both faith and action. When we do so, our lives will show it as we live it out.