How Should Christians Respond to the Government Shutdown?

4 ways Christians can respond during times of uncertainty.

Today marks a strange and rare occurance in America. The government is in a partial shutdown for the first time in nearly 18 years.

But you know this by now. At this point, there are few who don't know that this is happening. However, many don't fully understand what it means. Life has continued on for most as it always has. But life has come to a stand still for many of the 800,000 "non-essential" government workers who were told to go home or not come in today.

The bickering on Capitol Hill is disturbing despite which side your find yourself on for the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare" as it has become known. This is an embarrassment on a global scale. Even Syria, in the midst of a civil war, has continued to pay its bills. This is not a time of great pride in our great country.

We can respond in a way that shows this country, this world, the love of God.

Despite all of this, a unique opportunity has arisen for Christians everywhere. We can respond in a way that shows this country, this world, the love of God.

This time can activitate the giving heart of the Church. Many local Bodies are ahead of the curve in this, but others have no idea where to start. Many people are confused and unsure of what's next, but the Church has an unfailing hope. We should always show it, but it's in times like these where something beautiful can awaken in those who know Jesus and in those who do not know Jesus.

Here are 4 ways for us as Christians, as the Church, to respond to the shutdown:

Pray for the leaders of this country and the people who are hurt by this

This should be the no. 1 action on every Christian's "list" right now. This should be continuous for us. We need to ask God to intervene in the lives of the men and women who will not agree. We need to ask God to intervene in the lives of the people who are hurt by that lack of agreement.

We all have opinions, and that is great. That is a wonderful part of humanity. What cannot happen, though, especially in the Church, is for the opinions to cause disunity among us and cause us to ignore what it seems is currently being ignored in Washington: People.

God loves people. We need to love people right now and ask God to intervene at this time.

Ask your local church if there is anything you can do for those in need

Giving is, at times, sacrificial. We cannot be so materialistic that we look at what we have and not want to give to the one who has none. Sometimes, God even asks us to give all we have to the one who has none. And at a time when people will be going to work without any guarantee of pay, there is an opportunity for some of us to offer help.

It is so important to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, because He tells us what makes sense to God, not us.

The leaders in your local church should have a solid grasp of the general needs of your community. If they don't, find a local church that does have a good grasp of those needs and ask what you can give/do.

Being a pastor, I see that our local body often has more needs come to our attention than the provisions to meet those needs. This isn't completely out of sheer number, it's also because of the poverty mentality that so many of us possess. The concept of giving or helping is so foreign to so many. We have to open our eyes to the needs around us. The pleasure of helping others is something that we can ALL do.

You can give resources, pastors can put you to work, or you can be given tips and advice on how to help those around you. If the shutdown continues, those government employees on furlough may need financial assistance, and even if it doesn’t, they could probably use your encouragement and support.

Don't wait for your local church or community organization to organize something

I know this kind of contradicts what is written above, but hear me out. Sometimes, we really embrace being sheep. Whether it is witnessing, social justice or even fun, we generally wait for someone else to organize something.

This isn't completely terrible. Some people have no idea where to start. In that case, yes, contact these places to see what is happening. However, do not ignore the fact that the very best weapon against the injustices around you is you.

Some local churches will definitely have a good handle on the general needs of the community. But you also have a great handle on the needs around you. You have family, friends and neighbors that a local body doesn't always know about.

Don't wait to see what organizations are doing. Don't say to yourself, "Someone should do something to help." The Church is people, not a place. You are the Church. Go help the people around you.

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What we can do is not simply rise to a national occasion of need, but always be available to meet needs.

Don't let this be isolated

Needs will always be around. Jesus said that we'll always have the poor with us. It's the nature of being on this planet.

What we can do is not simply rise to a national occasion of need, but always be available to meet needs. In any time of uncertainty, the Church should be at the forefront of helping and offering hope. Not simply for publicity, but because it's what we should have been doing all along.

We should always be helping meet needs. Let this time of uncertainty be a wakeup call to understand that we are not to rise to the occasion like it's some special thing. There is always an occasion. There are always needs. If you do something during this time, don't let the next public crisis be the next time you do something.

We are the Church, and we should bring hope to the world. Whether that is salvation or meeting a need, don't see it as simply "rising to the occasion" right now. Do what we should have been doing all along: Loving people.


Robin England


Robin England commented…

Totally agree...except for that it's not that we just aren't paying our bills...thankfully, our government functions on having to pass a spending bill before it can just spend money however it wants (granted, those bills have obviously been flawed). I could be wrong, but I don't think Syria has that safeguard. Therefore, I have a real problem where you say:

"This is an embarrassment on a global scale. Even Syria, in the midst of a civil war, has continued to pay its bills. This is not a time of great pride in our great country."

Because of our government's checks and balances, this is almost like saying that democracy is an embarassment- which, at times, may be true...only in the sense that our laws are grossly abused and misunderstood by many.

Otherwise, thanks for the reminder to be the Church!

Curtis Griesel


Curtis Griesel replied to Robin England's comment

The government already has spent the money. Now it has to authorize paying for what is already spent. This is not spending restraint, this is threatening to defaulting on credit that has already been spent.

If you want spending restraint, then itemize what items you don't want the government to spend money on, and let the people vote on it. Spending the money first and then refusing to make the payments after the money is already spent is not fiscal responsibility, it is being a deadbeat.

Joe Bonacci


Joe Bonacci commented…

First of all don' t confuse a government shutdown with paying our bills. If we weren't paying our bills we would not have a AA credit rating on out debt. We are not defaulting. To compare us with Syria is an absurd comparison. How do you know by the way if they are paying their bills anyway? Like most government programs Obamacare was well intentioned. I get it. We have to do something to provide insurance to the uninsured. However the President lied when he said many many many times that if you have insurance already you would not have to change. Tell that to the 120,000 employees at Walgreens who now have been told to purchase their own insurance via the yet to be functional health care exchanges or the spouses of all the UPS employees who are no longer covered on their spouses insurance. What was meant to be a program for the uninsured is going to be another ill conceived , mismanaged government program that will hurt this economy and cause untold hardship on those who were perfectly happy with their current insurance



campwebb12 replied to Joe Bonacci's comment

the problem with being perfectly happy with what you have is that you forget about the people that don't have the ability to be perfectly happy with what you have. Obama didn't tell employers that they had to get their workers on the exchange, Walgreens did that themselves, as my employer has made the choice not to do that. There are many that also had no hope of getting insurance, for various reasons, I for a pre-existing condition, and I believe that for those of us that weren't fortunate enough to have the gift of perfect health, this is a step in the right direction.

Amber Drake de Sousa


Amber Drake de Sousa commented…

The embarrassment, in my opinion, is that our so-called leaders (from both sides of the aisle) seem to be playing a competitive game for us all to watch instead of actually running something. When was the last time our reps actually worked for our benefits and rights as opposed to individual and/or party agendas?

But that's beside the point. The point is that while they are playing their games, we don't have to. While we are still here, our faith is in something larger and more true. And perhaps it is more our responsibility than any other person's to act for those around us in a Christ-like manner regardless of what politicians are doing.

Heather Hall


Heather Hall commented…

I work for the government and I am laid off after already enduring the sequestration lay offs. I know exactly what the church should do. They should take a civics lesson. Seriously, the average American has no idea what the function of the majority of government agencies is or how the work of those agencies blesses their lives. So many things people just take things for granted and then whine about the taxes they pay. Like having your savings account insured. Or having regulations that standardize accounting practices for publicly traded companies. Or requiring businesses to provide workmen's comp. insurance. Or inspecting nuclear power plants for safety. Or forecasting the weather. Or operating communication satellites. How about a day of thankfulness for the work of government employees. The Bible says that these are God's own full time ministers. Yet we're treated so badly by a political party that many Evangelicals support!! Shame!! Shame!!

Steve Cornell


Steve Cornell commented…

Sadly, the President’s speech about the shut down was a blatant display of partisan posturing based on significant misrepresentations of why the government shut down.

It’s frankly a little scary that our leaders will so boldly take us for fools. What the President did was not an example of good leadership but of more personal and party promotion. I realize this occurs all the time in politics, but we need to expect better from leaders. Please do not allow the smooth talk to deceive you.

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