OK, so this post is only for Christians. That is because only Christians have made the deliberate decision to make God the boss of their life. They have agreed with God that they are not the centre of the universe, they are not the boss, and they should not be calling the shots.
They have instead come to God through Christ in faith and repentance, renouncing self, and affirming the Lordship or boss-ship of God instead. They are under new management, having renounced their own claim to authority, and embracing God’s rightful reign and rule in their life.
So what is this undercover bit all about? There happens to be a television program by the name of “Undercover Boss”. It may have originated in the US, but there seem to be other versions of it as well, such as a Canadian and Australian edition.
I have seen a few of these now, and the gist of it is this: a boss of a big company or corporation goes undercover for a week, pretending to be a new trainee apprentice. He pairs himself up each day with an existing employee, trying to learn and do various jobs.
He does so to learn about how the company is actually getting along, and to see if things can be changed or improved, and to learn about how the workers are doing. At the end of the week these five or so folks are brought to the national headquarters where the boss is no longer incognito. He reveals himself to their great surprise and shock, and often commends them on their great job.
It is often a tear jerker, since he not only acknowledges and praises all their hard work, but he will often reward them in various ways. For example, he may discover the worker is a single mum struggling to feed her children, so he will give her a substantial cash gift.
Or it might be a struggling employee with big medical issues – and bills – which he will help out with a large financial donation. Or the boss may have learned that the worker has not seen his family for a year or whatever, so he pays for him to have a great vacation with them.
So while all these gifts and rewards are so very much appreciated by the very surprised and grateful employees, the common response is something like this: “Wow, I never knew anyone actually appreciated what I was doing, or knew how hard I have been working here. This is the first time someone higher up has recognised what I do here, and given me some affirmation and approval. It means so much to me that someone has finally noticed what I do, and appreciated my service to the company.”
Of course for these five folks who get singled out for this special recognition and praise, there would be plenty of other employees – perhaps dozens or many hundreds even – in the same company who did not get this star treatment. Plenty of people slog away for decades as loyal, hard workers, but get no notice, no special recognition, no promotions, and no praise.
So what is my point in all this? Well, as usual, it seems this can nicely be turned into sermon material. There are spiritual lessons that can be derived from all this. A simple TV series can provide a nice platform for important spiritual truths.
And the obvious lesson is this: everyone who is a Christian is working for Christ and the Kingdom – or should be. We are all to be soldiering on, doing Christian ministry and serving our Lord in numerous ways. We are all called to be labourers, to keep busy for the Kingdom, and to be fully involved in the work of the Lord.
Yet like the majority of people not singled out on “Undercover Boss,” our efforts and labours may well go unnoticed and unheralded, at least in the eyes of others. We may be faithfully and diligently serving our Lord every day, year in and year out, with no recognition, no applause, and no spotlight.
Yet we keep plugging away, because this is the right thing to do. We keep serving our Lord because he is worthy of such service. He deserves our all, because he gave us his all. The least we can do is to serve him every day of our lives, whether or not anyone knows about it or cares about it.
But unlike the TV show, in the Kingdom, the Boss does indeed recognise us and appreciate us – every single one of us. There is not one single believer that Christ is not 100 per cent aware of, appreciative of, and supporting. He backs every single one of us to the hilt, and he does not miss a single thing we do for him.
So unlike the workplace in the world, where so much labour goes unnoticed and unappreciated, this is not the case in the Kingdom. Every prayer we pray, everything we do, and every work of service we perform, are all fully noted, considered, valued and applauded by our heavenly Boss.
Even our struggles, tears and sorrows for the Kingdom do not go unnoticed and wasted. Indeed, as we read in Psalm 56:8, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” (ESV). Even our every tear is stored away, remembered and treasured by our heavenly father.
Earthly bosses may miss these tears, and so much else of what we do, but our eternal Boss misses nothing and is aware of everything. It is this knowledge that should keep all of us pressing on, with no regrets, no hesitation, and no doubts. We should have full assurance that the Boss sure does know everything about us, and everything we have done for him, sacrificed for him, and dedicated to him.
So we not only have the knowledge that one day we will hear these amazing words when we see him face to face – “Well done good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of the Lord” (Matthew 25:21) – but we also know that our “labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Or as the NLT puts it, “you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless”.
Indeed, there will even be rewards given for our efforts one day. Scripture speaks much to this, as in verses like these:
-Matthew 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
-1 Corinthians 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
-1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
-1 Corinthians 4:5 Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition from God.
-2 Corinthians 5:9-10 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, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
-2 Tim 4:8 Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day – and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing.
-Rev 22:12 Look! I am coming soon, and my reward is with me to pay each one according to what he has done!
Not that we serve him just to get an award, but it is good to know that unlike most of our earthly bosses, God knows full well what we have done, and is even going to hand out awards for faithful service. Wow, what a thought. So please my friends, never tire in your work for the Lord.
It is all important, it is all noticed, and it will all be acknowledged and perhaps even rewarded one day. So keep on keeping on. Our heavenly Boss is watching our every move, and is cheering us along the way. So do not despair, do not give up, and do not grow weary. Our divine Boss is “undercover” with us, every step of the way, noticing everything.
As Thomas Brooks once wrote: “Your life is short, your duties many, your assistance great, and your reward sure; therefore faint not, hold on and hold up, in ways of well-doing, and heaven shall make amends for all.”