One of my favourite television programmes is Undercover Boss. Each episode usually features the CEO or owner of a company going undercover as ordinary entry-level employee in his or her company. The CEO alters her appearance and assume an alias and fictional back-story to avoid suspicion. She spends around a week, working in various areas of her company. This exposes her to the challenges the company faces, along the way getting to know the people who work their, and learning more about their professional and personal challenges.
My favourite part is always towards the end when the CEO summons the individuals to corporate headquarters and comes clean by revealing her true identity. She rewards hard-working employees through promotion, or financial rewards to improve their lives. Others she gives more training, better working conditions or in extreme cases, termination. Almost without exception, those in receipt of the surprise rewards are moved to tears by the act of generosity. As, indeed, are most of the bosses as they also experience transformation. The scenes are very moving to watch.
I never miss a week without watching an episode! I have watched Undercover Boss USA, Canada and UK. One day I dream that there might be an Undercover Boss Zambia! Perhaps starring the President. Imagine President Sata going undercover in some of the government departments, working alongside them. What would he find? But I side track. The reason I find Undercover Boss so interesting is that it reminds me of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible teaches us that in Jesus Christ, God put on human flesh and lived a ong us. We call this the Incarnation of God. In doing so, Jesus was a bit like the CEO who goes undercover. Jesus was full of humility when he came into the world as fully man and yet fully God. He became like one if us without losing his true nature. Jesus laid aside his wealth and power to walk in our shoes. To feel our pain. To do our jobs. To experience death as we experience it. Like the employees we walked alongside His majesty without even realising it. Some even insulted our Master Jesus to his face in ignorance!
And yet in another way, Jesus is far much better than the CEOs on Undercover Boss! Unlike the CEOs, Jesus did not come because he was ignorant of our true conditions. He knew us before we were born! As the all knowing God he knew fully knows our needs and our pain. Rather Jesus enters our world to identify with that need and pain for our benefit! He did not become man to see if we can measure up or understand “the brand position” of His kingdom! Rather he enters our world to fully pay for our sins and make us eternally right before God. And certainly Jesus has not come for seven days only just to get a feel for where improvements may be needed. Jesus remains fully man and God for all eternity! But much more than that he continues his mission in our lives through the Holy Spirit!
I said, I like the end when the CEO identifies with and rewards the employees. It is because in it I see Jesus Christ the Great Shepherd who will one day reward His children! But even there we see the limits of man’s generosity. In one episode we see one CEO giving an employee $20k to help his son go through college – but we couldn’t help but wonder what happens 10 years from now. The point is not that the gift is not great. The problem is that whatever gifts the CEO gives it can never satisfy our deepest longings!
And here is where Jesus Christ again is different. Jesus has not come to see if I deserve a momentary upgrade. He has exchanged His life for mine forever! To make an eternal difference to my life! But more than that Jesus has made a home in my heart. You see one of the things I keep being reminded of when I watch the programme is that power isolates! The CEOs struggle with understanding how their staff feels because the power they enjoy isolates them from reality. But Jesus has no such problems. His power is not a blockade to me knowing him. Rather he uses it to escort me and you into his presence.
Apostle Peter sums up the continous presence of Jesus in our lives as follows : "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires" (2 Peter 1:3, 4). My prayer us that I continue to depend on this Jesus who not only lives in the walls of my heart but has given me these great and precious promises!
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013