For God’s Sake: The Pseudo-Reality of Mission Work

Every Friday morning, I publish an e-letter that gets mailed out to a couple thousand people. This past Friday, the title of the e-letter was “The Pseudo-Reality of Geraldo Rivera.” It was related to Geraldo’s big splash onto the investigative journalism/reality show scene. Like most of my e-letters, it elicited a few responses. The following is a response that was not only thought provoking, but merited a reprinting. I requested (and received) permission to do just that. So, here it is:

Pastor Dave,

I once heard something surprising about mission work from the recipient’s point of view. The locals put on a good face to receive them [people on short-term mission trips], but it is said that the busloads that come and go produce a regular, tiresome routine of welcoming them.

The reality is that, because the locals need all the charity they can receive, they welcome multiple exclusive sponsors to the point that a different welcome sign goes up for each group of foreign mission workers that show up.

It got dramatic for me when a young one expressed that it’s hard to truly love someone who is bound to come into your life just to see them go again.

Thus Geraldo’s initial success is now being played out in real life everywhere we turn, and we do them up big. I am not afraid to say, it is not only in investigative reporting, but we find it pervasive everywhere—e.g., in reality shows, America’s Got Talent, Survivors, Game of Thrones, and if you search deep, there is a hint of it in Micky D’s, Wal-Mart, MBC* next door to us, (yes, MBC next door to us), and in every mission trip we take (along with our swimming trunks and sunglasses).

So then, who was Jesus? He came and went. It took only three years for him to establish his notoriety. He really went. The difference is, He died an innocent Man.

The other day, there was a news headline that an innocent man might have been executed. Another investigative reporting piece, I suppose. And so he shed his blood for us. That rings a bell I suppose—to die an innocent Man as a Ransom for others.

Yet, instead of shedding our blood for others, we go around as Christians being a remake of dear old Geraldo, doing it bigger and better, building wonderful edifices of our time, as church prisoners peering out the periscope of over-exaggerated mission works.

Richard K
Forgive us for we know not what we do, for sure.

I think Richard is making a pretty good point, here. We so often want to rush in, do our “good thing,” then rush back out. My guess is we do this just to make ourselves feel better—to feel like we’re following in the Lord’s footsteps. It might be a good thing for us to remember that the Lord came and lived among us and didn’t leave until the job was done. Tough sandals to fill…

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]

*Mega Bible Church


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