If you’ve never watched it, Undercover Boss is a show where Executives from various companies go undercover and take entry-level positions in their own enterprises. They typically underestimate the amount of work it takes to do these jobs, and come out exhausted after each shift.
They interact with others in entry level positions to find out the quirks of the job and how the position could be made easier or more efficient. Their supervisor or coworkers are under the ruse that the new “employee” is a contestant on a reality show, oblivious that they are actually training and working alongside a higher-up.
As the executive works with these peoples, they encounter the often difficult journeys the people have had to maintain a living usually due to various personal issues, family tragedies, or general lack of finances and/or opportunities to pursue their dream.
The show ends by the “reality show producer” calling each employee with whom the executive worked with for feedback as to whether he should proceed to the next round of the make believe competition. In actuality, the undercover boss reveals his identity to these employees. Following the reveal, the boss expresses what inspires him in the employee, what improvements they intend to make to the position, and then he or she typically offers some sort of financial support to help the individual pursue their dreams. This gets me every time.
Last night an executive gave a woman $20,000 to start her dream bakery with her sister, gave an gentleman $45,000 to pay of his share of a mortgage and save for law school, gave another young woman $10,000 so she could afford her dream wedding and get her GED, and extended money to an older man to both pay for his Dad’s burial site and grave marker and to fulfill a personal dream to see Wimbledon in person.
When I think about why I would get emotional about help extended to some random individuals I don’t know, I realize that it is all about grace.
An executive, who has no reason of his own to offer any help to these individuals, offers virtually unmerited grace by way of life-changing financial support to help individuals pursue their dreams.
And in that, it reminds me of another story. A story where a God would send himself and offer humanity unmerited grace in the form of His sinlessness that we might have abundant life. Though we don’t deserve it, nor does Christ have any reason to offer it apart from unfathomable love, life-changing grace is extended to us.
In a way, Jesus was an Undercover Boss. He was Lord of the universe in the flesh, unbeknownst to many. He extended grace beyond what was required or expected of him. And he willing and excitedly changes lives of those he encounters.
I’m okay with getting emotional about that.