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FIRST-PERSON: Our ultimate ‘Undercover Boss’

GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP) — I dislike reality television, but Undercover Boss is the exception. I especially enjoy watching people react when they learn they have just spent a day working alongside the company CEO.

Hidden cameras follow different executives each week on undercover missions to examine how their companies function. The executives step out of the comfort of their cushy offices to work alongside their employees; in the process they discover how decisions made in their corporate offices impact their average employees.

Undercover executives get an up-close and personal look at both the good and the bad. Occasionally, they discover incredible unsung heroes, people who make their companies great. And at times, the mission uncovers mediocre performances and disappointing attitudes.

The show’s fifth season begins Friday, and I’m still not sure why I like it so much. Perhaps at some level I enjoy watching under-par performers get their just desserts. You have to admit, there is a bit of sweet justice when a jerk comes face to face with the boss who saw them for who they really are. On the other hand, it is inspiring to see an unsung hero discovered and rewarded for loyalty and sacrificial service.

As followers of Christ, we have the ultimate undercover boss! Jesus spoke often about the “Father who sees what is done in secret” (Matthew 6:6) and who examines the motives of the heart. Psalm 139 speaks of the One who knows when I sit down and when I stand up, and knows my every thought from afar. The Father even knows what I am going to say before I say it. Then the psalmist concludes that such knowledge is too great for him to comprehend.

The Father is ever-present and all-knowing. Perhaps that’s why the apostle Paul urged the believers in the church at Colossae, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23), and to the Corinthians he said, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

On the show, people put their jobs and future on the line by not recognizing that their boss is right in front of them and is watching and listening to how they treat customers and co-workers. In the same way, the ultimate undercover boss is always listening, always watching and always aware of the unspoken attitudes and feelings in our hearts.

Paul reminded his readers, “So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home, in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).

In Matthew 25, Jesus talks about of the separation of the sheep and goats at the final judgment (my paraphrase): I tell you the truth, whatever you did (or did not do) for one of the least of these my brothers, you did (or did not do) for Me.

What would you do or say differently if you knew the person with whom you are speaking today is, in fact, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe — the ultimate undercover boss?
Larry Doyle is director of missions of the Piedmont Baptist Association in North Carolina. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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  • Larry Doyle