We're spending the weekend in San Diego, with John's cousin and her family. From the freeway, you take the main road east to the last housing development before the lake. When I mentioned that I wanted to take a walk/run, they told me to take the path which would lead me down a ways with a great view of the lake. Sounded good to me, and true to their description I saw a beautiful lake, mountains in the distance, a great park, animals... It was very peaceful. When I got to the end of the path, I noticed that I was on a street which would lead me back to their home. So, I took the street back to where I started; it seemed more interesting than just turning around and walking the path again.
The next day when I walked again, I decided to walk down the street first, and then take the path back. I thought it would be nicer that way, so that I could save the gorgeous views of the lake for the second half of my journey. I was surprised to find that this time I hardly noticed the lake because of the angle of the path. Though it was there, I gave it significantly less attention than I had the day before. Was the lake any less beautiful? No, but the homes seemed more noticable and it was an effort to watch the lake.
I found it very interesting to realize that both the path and the street were the same journey. It seemed strange that the exact same walk had such a different emphasis.
In the same way, I began thinking about James 2, where we read about the expression of our faith and how that goes together with the good deeds we do. They are opposite sides of the same coin, but it seems that perhaps the method we chose has to do with how we start our journey. Those who are taught the importance of loving and worshipping God ("admiring the beauty of the lake") often miss the practicallity of life around them ("the cars along the street, and the people living their lives out of their homes"), and vice versa.
We must learn to find a way to live in balance, to both worship God for who He is and serve our fellow man as an expression of that love. One without the other is incomplete.