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"Add to cart" is probably the quickest way to gratification... but ultimately what we're made for is production, not consumption. So the consumption will momentarily satisfy, but quickly disappear. Our efforts at production will fulfill and last, and God has designed our production to inherently be a partnership with Him, which is the most beautiful part of all.

Whenever I get antsy or dissatisfied, I start to ask myself where I'm at on the consumption to production spectrum, and it's often tipping toward consumption. That's where I'll find myself if I'm waiting around for results, anxious about the future, or feeling lazy and unmotivated. When I begin to take steps toward production, I find myself questioning my roles less, creating more, and more certain of my identity and place before the Lord.

Reading aloud Farmer Boy and Little Britches to my children this winter in quick succession, I've verbally dramatized a fair number of meals with heaping plates and loaded tables. It could be that in Almanzo and Ralph's little boy memories, they remember the food as more than what it was. More likely, though, I think, it's that they approached those tables truly famished and in great need of nourishment. These are almost the only scenes in either of these entire books where they are the consumers. In every other scene, they were working to subdue the world around them and produce what they needed to survive. They bred and raised the livestock to work the ground to grow the materials to make their own cloth to sew their own clothes, and to grow the materials to feed the livestock to produce their own meat and dairy products. There was no time to consume anything other than food, for producing is what consumed them. And so that food tasted very, very good, for it was all that they consumed. Furthermore, consumption of that food was the only way their bodies could keep on the way that they did... producing.

Consuming ought to be for the purpose of making us more effective producers. Jesus taught this from so many angles - that vines not producing fruit ought to be cut off. He was speaking in a spiritual sense, but we know that our spiritual life is often reflected in our physical life. If what we are putting in front of our eyes, and on our bodies, and in our stomachs is for our own gratification (because that is what consumerism is... an endless attempt to please the un-appeasable), we will find ourselves purposeless and unfulfilled. We were made to be producers.

From the beginning of time, God placed His people in the garden with tasks and responsibility. Only when they sought to consume more than they needed, did they find themselves free-falling into a life filled with fear and pain. God had already ordained for them the appropriate sustenance for the work He was asking them to do, and they chose to lean on their own wisdom instead. Their consumption did not fulfill them - but it did fill them. It filled them too much, past what was good for them. It made them more self-aware... and in their self-awareness they were consumed with themselves. Unable to focus on anything outside of themselves, all of humanity was consumed as a result of their actions.

While consuming will always imprison us within ourselves, producing will always free us to seek the Father. We will need Him, if we're producing, because He is the One with strength for our tasks. Production is perhaps better-named multiplication, as we're using what we're given to create more. And as we obey the Father in this, we find deep fulfillment.

And so we find it fulfilling to feed and clothe our families, and to care for our homes... because we are multiplying out of what we have been given. Longing for more than what we are or what we have is what makes us ineffective homemakers... but giving out of what we've been given, giving in proportion to what God has made us capable of, produces in us great satisfaction. Giving is both the fruit and the seed in the kingdom of God.

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Hi, I'm Hannah.

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