In case you didn’t notice, the U.S. federal government recently experienced what was described as a “partial shutdown.” A whopping 43% of federal workers—nearly 900,000 people—were deemed “non-essential” and put on furlough. Of course, once the government starts up again, they get all of their back pay, so basically the U.S. had hundreds of thousands of workers on a paid vacation at taxpayer expensive.
There are many things troubling about this scenario. At a time when the government runs billion-dollar deficits every year, cynics would ask whether we should have cut some of the “non-essential” government services a long time ago, not just temporarily but permanently. And it surely is strange that, because everyone receives their back pay, it actually costs MORE to have a shutdown than to run things according to “business as usual.”
However, unless you are a federal employee or live in the Washington beltway, you probably didn’t even notice the shutdown. For most of us, life went on. The sky didn’t fall, and the economy didn’t grind to a halt. We discovered the liberating truth that our lives didn’t depend on the government after all.
Prior to the shutdown, Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi famously said that there was no fat in the federal government—the budget had already been “cut to the bone.” Well, it sure doesn’t seem that way, Nancy.
Although the shutdown raised numerous political issues, it also caused me to ponder some more personal questions:
- Is it possible that my spiritual life has been operating on a “partial shutdown” for months or years, even though I’ve never noticed? Compared to what God desires for me as a Spirit-filled believer (John 14:12), it seems I’ve been operating at a pretty low level.
- Are there some “non-essential” activities and expenditures in my life that could be cut in order to help me bear more fruit? Jesus’ is the master gardener, and it’s likely that He has much more pruning to do in my life (John 15:1-5).
These are questions you might want to ask yourself as well. Is it possible you’ve allowed your spiritual vitality and giftings to atrophy and partially shut down? Have you lost your first love, your passion, or your dream lately?
I’ve been wondering lately if much of the church in America is experiencing a “partial shutdown,” lacking the dynamic spiritual power and fruitfulness the Lord desires for us. Maybe it’s time for some pruning to get rid of our dead branches and unnecessary programs.
Several months back, my smartphone experienced a “partial shutdown” when its memory was nearly maxed out. Although everything still worked to some extent, the phone was extremely slow and unresponsive in comparison to how it operated when I first bought it. In order to return it to its original functionality, I had to delete a bunch of unnecessary apps. Maybe it’s time for that to happen in some other areas of my life as well. What about you?