I promise this message will not attempt to be a lesson in economics or politics.
Consumers and producers exist within the circular cycle of dependency that we commonly refer to as supply and demand. Need requires the production of goods and services so that they may be consumed. Many times essentials are produced for lower rates than convenience or luxury items and yet it is the production and consumption of these basics of life that truly keeps our societies and economies moving. The production, delivery and consumption of necessities like food, clean water, housing, electricity, heating, transportation and fuel are items that we all consume, regardless of status or environment.
Most of us are at some level both a consumer and a producer. For some of us the ratio between the two swings heavily towards either towards production or consumption yet, nevertheless we all are working to both have our needs met and to meet the needs of others. I am a consumer and thankfully I am also a producer which in turn allows me to continue to be a consumer (and the cycle continues).
As followers of Christ we are called to be both consumers and producers. Our lives must take in so that we can give out. The process of life is the process of exchange. We must be vertically connected to God through the Lord Jesus Christ as a consumer and horizontally connected to our fellow man as producers for the Kingdom of God.
By default we all are involved in the economic system of the world, but as a result of the new birth we are also involved in the eternal economy of the Kingdom of heaven. It is our involvement in God’s way of doing things that I would like to briefly share on in this message.
Jesus is the ultimate eternal producer and we are dependent upon Him to supply everything we need. He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is the source of every good and perfect thing (James 1:17). He has also tasked us or called us to join His production process (Matthew 28:1-20). We have been commissioned as producers in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Many times in the body of Christ the tendency is to get trapped in an either/or situation between consumer and producer. We tend to voluntarily separate ourselves between those of us who sit in pews or padded chairs and those of us who are involved in the ministry. The Bible does not make this distinction. We are all called to be fed and grow in the spirit and we are all called to give and produce spiritual fruit.
There will never be a time when I have learned all that there is to know about God. There will never be a time when I have reached complete spiritual maturity. We will always be able to deepen our relationship with God through prayer and worship. We will always be able to broaden our knowledge of His Word and gain deeper insight and revelation from it. We will always be able to die to our flesh so that we may live like Him. We will be continuous consumers of the Bread of Life (John 6:35). We will never be satisfied and God’s supply will never fail.
Our earthly ministry will only be finished when we stand before Jesus Christ. Our ministry may change and develop through the seasons of our life but until every man, woman and child is born again, filled with the Holy Spirit, discipled in the things of God and released into their own ministry there will always be a chance for you and I to bear spiritual fruit. As long as there is lack, suffering and injustice in the world there will be opportunities for you and I to produce spiritual fruit. God needs you and me to produce. We are His body; the ambassadors of His kingdom upon the earth. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:10)
The world’s system is established to produce so that we may consume. God’s government establishes us as consumers of heavenly things so that we may be producers of the Kingdom of God here on the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6).
We need Jesus. We need the Word. We need to die to ourselves so that He may increase and we might decrease. We fast. We pray. We study. We worship. We consume everything that our Father in heaven provides.
We should be insatiable when it comes to the things of God.
Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness. (1 Peter 2:2-3)
Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 AMP)
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. (Psalm 42:1)
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:18 NIV)
We need to be strong in the Lord (Ephesians 6:10). We become strong through prayer, worship & through reading and understanding the Word. Just as our natural bodies require exercise in order to remain strong so our spirits require constant activity in order to grow and become strong.
Jesus (of course) gave the best sermon on producing spiritual fruit.
I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-5)
You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. (John 15:16)
Producing spiritual fruit through His body (us) is one of the most amazing things about the new birth. The Holy Spirit takes up residence in each of us and empowers us to produce on behalf of Jesus Christ. This is part of the core of the New Covenant.
If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. (John 14:15-17)
One of the boldest statements Jesus makes to us concerning producing spiritual fruit is:
I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! (John 14:12-14)
Wow – it amazes me every time I read that verse. Jesus has empowered us through the new birth and baptism of the Holy Spirit to produce fruit in the same way that He did.
If we are consuming the Bread of Life and seeking after God with all of our hearts we will find that we will only truly be satisfied when we are producing His kingdom.
Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” (John 4:34-38)
The role we fill in God’s kingdom will be unique to us as an individual. We all will affect the lives of different people. We will be used to accomplish different things in the plan of God but our calling is to be faithful to our calling. Do not judge yourself based on someone else’s ministry; judge yourself by the Bible and your obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life.
I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. (1 Corinthians 3:6-8)
I know that I frequently write on this subject. I write because we serve a Savior who loves eternally and universally and has commissioned us to produce in His name. We are each going to have to answer to our Lord concerning the calling He has placed on our lives. I write to encourage you or provoke you to move continually forward in your walk with Jesus.
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip. “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money. “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money.” (Matthew 25:14-19 NLT)
Feed your faith and starve your doubts to death. Serve Jesus with an unrelenting love and a passion to see His Kingdom come to earth as it is in heaven.