Undercover Boss

One of the few "reality shows" with a point is "Undercover Boss." The format is that the head of a major corporation works disguised in the various branches of his company to get a firsthand look at how things operate.

Because no one knows who the bosses are (they work under the guise of being trainees), the regular employees treat them like they would anyone else. In other words, they act before the "big boss" according to their true character. 

The results are interesting and suggest some spiritual lessons. First, it is a dramatic moment when the employees are brought to headquarters at the end of the show and the true identity of the boss is revealed. You can see the panic on their faces and the wheels of their memory turning: "Oh no! What did I say/do in front of the CEO?"

The obvious application is to the "all-seeing eye" of our Heavenly Father. "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Ps. 139:7). "'Am I a God near at hand,' says the Lord, 'and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?’'says the Lord" (Jer. 23:23-24).

Nothing we do is beyond the awareness of God, not even what we think (I Chron. 28:9; Ps. 94:11). 

But unlike these unwitting employees, we know this beforehand. The trick is to remember it. We get distracted; we get involved in our own designs; we get overwhelmed by our emotions -- and we do things we would never do if the Lord were personally standing at our side.

Secondly, the show profiles some hard-luck cases where people are struggling with personal issues yet are working hard and acting honorably. This usually results in the CEO giving them some kind of gift or compensation. Often the CEOs are moved to tears as they encounter these "salt of the earth" people who are helping keep their company (and their hefty salaries) afloat.

Though our salvation is a result of grace, surely God takes pride when He sees His people do the right thing. "But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly" (Matt. 6:3-4).

Thirdly, as an extension of the last point, nearly all the employees who are rewarded weep at the goodness done to them by the CEO. And they all say something similar: "I didn't think anybody noticed or cared about how hard I work."

God always notices, but we also need to acknowledge the contributions of our fellow man. It costs us nothing to say "Thank you for what you do" or "that was a job well done." The world has an abundance of critics; what it needs more of are sincere encouragers who can lift the spirits of those who are doing the difficult, dirty jobs.