There was once upon a time a God fearing old man who earnedhis living by crossing the travelers by hos boat from a shore to the other.
One day while the old man was crossing by his boat a young man, this one noticed that on each paddle was written something and asked:
`Why did you write on one of the paddles faith and on the other one good deeds?
`Because these two are leading me in my life, the old man answered.
`I don`t think the man needs both, said the young man boldly. One is enough to lead your life upon it: if you do good deeds and you are useful to the others, if you have faith this is useful just for you.`
The old man didn`t say a thing but he started to row with only one paddle. The boat didn`t advance anymore spinning on the spot. In this way the young man understood what the old man wanted to say: that the man with a pure soul, who is enlightened by faith, will have a pure life, full of the deeds of Christian kindness and mercy. How is the soul of the man in the same way is his life.
Faith without kindness is only hypocrisy. The true faithful man loves God loving the people. The good deeds and faith are the two wings by which our soul raises towards God. With a single wing you can`t fly!
Faith is proven by deeds. Faith without deeds doesn`t exist. (saint Simeon the New Theologian)
Excerpt from The most beautiful Orthodox parables and tales- Leon Magdan, Aramis Publishing – Romanian Patriarchy, 1998.