'Productive' is an attribute most industrious, hardworking Americans strive to demonstrate in the workplace.
For Washington politicians, though, it seems to be a novel notion.
President Barack Obama is vacationing in Martha's Vineyard. His two-week White House summer escape comes in the middle of international crises from Iraq to Ukraine.
And Congress adjourned for its annual five-week recess without addressing one of the most critical national issues: the crisis at the border. (Republicans did, in fact, pass a border bill before leaving, but it didn't receive the light of day in the Senate. In fairness, the Senate's comprehensive immigration bill never a got a vote in the House either.)
At the end of the day it's a wash. And what have we to show for it? Not much.
The president's popularity continues to plunge, and polls suggest his sinking approval ratings may hurt Democrats in the midterm elections, giving Republicans an edge to potentially retake the Senate.
Yet people think even less favorably of the legislative branch, which has earned honorary labels like "do-nothing Congress" or the "least productive Congress in history." (It's a sad day when cockroaches are held in higher esteem than members of Congress.)
Perhaps it's unfair to judge productivity entirely on the number of bills Washington doles out. After all, there are bad bills, poorly written laws, and overly cumbersome regulations that burden both the American people and businesses.
However, voters send the president, senators, and members of Congress (Republicans and Democrats alike) to Washington to perform their jobs: to represent their interests, establish justice, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.
Yet, very little is getting done. Let's be honest, if your job evaluation was as poor as Washington's, you'd probably be unemployed.
Meanwhile, lawmakers are campaigning for re-election, asking for another term to keep up the "good work." And President Obama continues to host fundraisers to pull in money for candidates in the hopes of avoiding becoming a complete lame duck during his last two years in office.
Still, the issues facing the country -- nationally and abroad -- haven't faded away. From the economy to national security to defending human rights and everything in between, there are plenty of challenges that demand our attention and action. In a democracy and in this day and age, sometimes that requires making tough choices, hard-nosed negotiation, and the tenacity to get things done.
As people of faith, let's be in a posture of prayer for blessing, protection, and wisdom over our country as well as our present national leaders and those we elect this November and in future elections.
If anyone is in need of prayer, they need it ... we all do.