WWJD while the US government is shut down

The weekend before the wise ones in congress chose to shut down the U.S. government rather than compromise, my husband and I were in Fairfax, VA for our 3-year old granddaughter’s birthday party. No surprise that legislative shenanigans dominated conversations. Several of the moms and dads faced the prospect of weeks without a paycheck and all the party-goers had relatives and/or friends in the same boat.

You didn’t have to listen hard to hear the worry in voices there in that Northern Virginia park. Contrary to conventional wisdom about government workers, most earn a modest salary. Like the majority of Americans, they live from paycheck to paycheck. Missing one week’s pay is a problem. A few weeks more and it’s a financial crisis.

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And not just for folks in the Washington, D.C. area. There are federal employees in communities all across America – if not in your neighborhood, most definitely in your community and state. Which, as a writer over at GenerousChurch tell us, is “an incredible opportunity for churches to shine.”

I hope you’ll give the article a read. Better yet, that you’ll encourage your congregation to consider the following action steps suggested by the GenerousChurch blogger.

WHAT WASHINGTON WON’T, GOD’S PEOPLE WILL. 

Charity at home. There may be furloughed government workers in your church that need help with everyday bills. Don’t make them ask for help. Reach out, and do so soon. As the GenerousChurch blog cites, almost 30 percent Americans have no savings at all. There’s nothing for them to draw on while they wait for the government to start up again.

Into the streets. There may be furloughed government employees in your community.This could be the time where God is setting you up to attract your community to the Gospel.  Additionally, this could be an important time for the people within your church to experience the joys of the kingdom of God through outwardly focused generosity.”

The poor with us. There are individuals and families in your region who’ll have an even tougher making ends meet as federally funded assistance programs are cut. Churches can help fill new holes in the social safety net. “This is our chance to bring joy for some who feel that they have no support or meaningful friendships during a difficult season of life.”

Churches never will (nor should, in my opinion) replace the government’s role in creating a just and caring society. But imagine the difference God’s people can make by stepping up while Washington is shut down. Quoting again from the GenerousChurch blog, “Here’s our choice.  We can write it off as a political frustration or we can utilize it as an opportunity for kingdom advancement.”

My prayer on behalf of the young parents I met at my granddaughter’s birthday party and for the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who face an uncertain financial future is this: may America’s churches choose to pitch in.

That’s what Jesus would do.

Has your church reached out to federal employees? Please share your story here. Let’s encourage one another to good works.

 

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