The absolutely irrational social meltdown that has taken place over the last week has been embarrassing to witness. It has shown the underbelly of our great country and exposed our weaknesses and our fears. It is interesting to see, however, that some thrive while others will panic. So, what is the root cause of these two different reactions?

Over the past 70 years, American culture has undergone a massive shift that has played a big part in why we are currently freaking out about toilet paper and sweet tea.

In the first half of the 20th century, America was a good solid mix of production and consumption. We made things like cars, household goods, and clothes on American soil. We also produced the majority of our food via crops and livestock.

We consumed a good portion of our labors. We exported the rest.

Over the past seven decades, our production has gradually decreased while our consumption has increased exponentially. We are now a country that relies almost entirely on others to provide for our needs. That is a dangerous place to be in this globally volatile political atmosphere.

Our over-emphasis on consumption explains why people are panicking mostly about comforts, like toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Our ancestors had solutions to all of these problems. They knew how to make their own soap, or which leaves to use if there was a shortage of TP. The most revealing example to me is the shortage of sweet tea. You could easily buy tea bags and sugar and make it yourself, but more than anything, Americans want convenience. Because above all else, they are consumers.

Most of my friends who live in rural areas are not freaking out because they still know how to do most of this stuff. They grow their food, butcher their meat, and generally provide for their own needs. They are capable of producing the bare necessities if needed (in some cases, they can live VERY comfortably).

So, if this crisis has caused you some level of panic, it might be time to admit that you are a consumer.

It’s not too late to pull yourself out of this compromising position. It looks like you might have a few weeks off. Make the best of it. Learn to produce something. Plant a garden, learn how to sew your clothes, and research how to make cheese or yogurt. You can do it. Make your grandparents proud.

If we take this one step deeper, I think there are very profound Spiritual applications to be made as well.

In your spiritual life, are you just consuming, or do you produce?

Spiritual Consumers:

  • get a weekly sermon at church on Sunday to keep them going
  • listen to Christian music to make themselves feel good
  • follow Christian bloggers to help them know more about God
  • focus their moral behavior on how people will perceive them

All of these things are self-focused and self-serving. If you notice, you are the only one benefiting from these actions. These things alone are not especially helpful in your spiritual growth and development.

If you want to grow, be productive.

Jesus called it “bearing fruit,” and it was/is the sign of a healthy Christian.

Spiritual producers (Fruit Bearers):

  • Tell others about Jesus
  • Visit the forgotten people (prisoners, elderly, refugees, widows, orphans, etc.)
  • Meet the physical needs of the hungry, naked and sick
  • Teach people about what God has been revealing to them
  • Intercede with faith on behalf of others

When difficult spiritual times come fruit bearers don’t panic. They are just where they need to be. They are ready to serve people and meet their needs. They help people find peace in their lives and chase away anxiety and panic by introducing them to Jesus.

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