My college experience resulted in me tackling three majors (that’s a long story). I studied English, journalism and music. Many people whom I talk to about this assume that an English degree and a journalism degree would have a lot of overlap or similar classes. But actually they were quite different. One of the reasons why is that in the English major classes I was primarily consuming and the journalism classes involved more producing.
What I mean by that is a typical English class required reading a piece of classic literature, learning its relevance, significance and learning how to dissect it or analyze it. I was usually consuming something that someone else created, and trying to understand what it is and why it’s important. Homework included reading assignments and essays explaining my analysis. In contrast, a typical journalism class involved learning how to write a news article or interview someone, and the homework required me to then go write a piece of news or talk to a stranger. I was producing something new.
I thought a lot about this difference, and found over time that the consuming-type assignments were somewhat easier, but the assignments that required me to produce ended up being more rewarding. I try to remind myself of this, especially now, as there are near limitless things to consume, what with the Internet, Netflix and smartphones. It’s extremely easy to almost always be consuming. But God gave every human incredible power to create, and I don’t think He wants that to go to waste.
God gave humans the ability to invent, design and envision. Exodus 35:35 Exodus 35:35Them has he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.
American King James Version×says, “He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers” (New International Version throughout). And this is just a sliver of the possibilities our minds are capable of. Producing can mean artistic projects, but it can also include much more, like making a video, teaching someone a skill, cooking, working on a relationship or even just giving encouragement (Romans 12:8 Romans 12:8Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it with simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
American King James Version×).
Often, the most difficult part of producing is just getting started. At the marketing agency where I work, I often hear this phrase: “Don’t get it right, get it written.” It’s easy to get in your own way, overthinking things or worrying that what you’re producing isn’t perfect. But at some point you just have to jump in and try something. If what you create doesn’t turn out perfect (and I know from experience, it probably won’t), then it’ll be a great learning experience.
Of course, consuming has its place. Consuming God’s Word is how we hear from God, understand ourselves and develop discernment to make wise life decisions. But most things are better with balance, and being mindful of the balance between producing and consuming can make life more rewarding and productive. (At least it has for me.)
God gave us the ability to make new things because it’s one of His attributes, and we’re made in His image. Paul wrote, “You are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9 1 Corinthians 3:9For we are laborers together with God: you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building.
American King James Version×). And elsewhere he adds, “For we are God’s handiwork” (Ephesians 2:10 Ephesians 2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
American King James Version×). God didn’t just make everything at the beginning of the world. He continues to work and create using us as materials. He’s reforming and refining each of us individually. And He’s working with us collectively as His Church and, eventually, to form His family.
So take a page out of God’s book (figuratively, of course) and start creating.
Kourtney Kovanis, Managing editor | firstname.lastname@example.org