Producer vs. Consumer

As a fifth grade teacher I used to teach a unit on consumers and producers in ecosystems. Producers were defined as organisms that produced Photosynthesis and provided food for themselves and other organisms. Consumers were defined as organisms that lived off of producers. Hmm. “Where is she going with this?” you might be thinking.

Well, let’s look at this illustration in terms of the church. A consumer within the church could be defined as believers who sit back and want to absorb it all. They may come to church and participate in Bible studies every week living off the knowledge, understanding and faith of others. Like sponges, they remain in one place flowing and soaking in nutrients. Being a consumer in the church often leads to a life of complacency and being satisfied with the status quo. Producers, on the other hand, are believers who grow from God’s Word and teaching and put it into active practice so that others can learn and be fed and grow and produce.

1 Corinthians 12 speaks of us in Jesus as one body and tells us that we have specific functions as part of the body Christ. Have you ever had a part of your body fall asleep? What do you do when that happens? What causes it? I used to think it came from a cut off of circulation but it really comes from a breakdown of communication between body parts, and leads to other body parts over-compensating to fix the situation. We need to discover our spiritual function within our church fellowship and community and be producers so other believers do not have to over-compensate to fill our gap. This will enable us to function more effectively and healthily within our community as we do the Kingdom work to which God calls us. 

Priscilla and Aquila, tent makers and Christians during the time of the early church, are reported in Acts 18:26 to have invited Apollos to their home and helped teach him the way of God more adequately. They are mentioned six times in the Bible referencing their faith and their producing for the Kingdom. We must avoid complacency, just sitting back and being consumers. Within the kingdom, we are meant to be producers. We have….Different gifts but the same Spirit. Different kinds of service but the same Lord. Different kinds of working but the same God at work (1 Corinthians 12:4-5). 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” So, what’s your function? In what way are you producing for the Kingdom?

Written by Julie Crawford