My husband and I will oftentimes share in the responsibility of cooking dinner. One evening this past week, while we were “cooking” together my husband shares his day and laments over how his boss simply doesn’t understand. He shares that if his boss would spend one full day completely in his shoes then he would understand that standing on your feet (on concrete) for eight hours a day with limited breaks is completely unhealthy and unnecessary. The simple fix would be installation of podiums and chairs to give relief.
A simple solution. Right?
So what’s the problem? ---
Lack of understanding.
Lack of empathy.
Lack of compassion.
Lack of true leadership.
Do you think for one second his boss has even entertained this idea of spending the full day in his employee’s shoes?
I can just see the thoughts flooding his mind at the mere suggestion-
“That isn’t necessary.”
“Honestly, it’s beneath me.”
“That’s why I have subordinates.”
“Whiny complainers that need to appreciate they have a job and just do it!”
I found this idea intriguing-- perspectives potentially changing by simply stepping into the shoes of another.
Have you ever watched the reality TV series, Undercover Boss?
The show depicts the President, Owner, CEO or “Boss” of a major corporation that decides to go “undercover” as an entry-level employee to discover the inner workings of his “creation" or business.
I have to admit that I had never seen the show before and decided to watch my first episode on Netflix. This particular episode featured the President & COO of Roto-Rooter, Rick Arquilla. He takes on the persona of “Hank” and exchanges his expensive tailored suit for plumbers' overalls. He steps into an apprentice role and has to perform basic level tasks from digging the gunk and hair from a clogged bathtub with his fingers to clearing a sewer line and dealing in raw sewage. Truly the dregs of the job!
But, it is in the day-to-day of the job, the mingling with the workers at their level with no prestige or filter that he is truly afforded the vantage of seeing the job and life from the eyes of those accomplishing it! He can see for himself the true working conditions, the thoughts and attitudes of his employees and their struggles. He realizes that the view he has always held from his “ivory tower” isn’t always 100% accurate and that stepping down into new shoes afforded true reality.
It wasn’t what he learned that I found so fascinating, it was how his employees reacted- with genuine gratitude & awe that their boss cared enough about them to humble himself and take on a lowly position amongst them!
I have to admit by the end of the show I had tears in my eyes.
I understand now why this show is in its seventh season and folks are drawn to it, bottom line- we all want someone to care enough about us that they are willing to take drastic measures to understand us.
WE ALL WANT TO BE KNOWN.
That’s the beauty of Christ.
HE IS THE ULTIMATE UNDERCOVER BOSS!
The Bible tells us that Christ humbled himself not just to save us but to also demonstrate God’s love to us!
Philippians 2:6-8 - “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross."
1 John 4:9- “This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
I believe having a full appreciation of Christ’s humanity is crucial; as his humanity demonstrates just how much he loves and cares for us, that he truly wants to know us!
Jesus willingly put aside his position, status, power and authority--ALL FOR US!
Father Ronald D. Witherup, highlights that throughout the Book of Mark, Jesus’ humanity is fully demonstrated:
“At one point, Jesus and His disciples withdraw from the crowds in order to “rest” (6:31). The implication is that they have grown tired and need a chance to recharge. Another scene shows Jesus hungry (11:12), and when He looks for some fruit to eat from a fig tree, He becomes angry and curses it (11:14). Jesus also becomes angry with some of His opponents (3:5) and is shown in righteous anger driving out the moneychangers from the Temple (11:15-16). Jesus is said also to experience a variety of other human emotions such as compassion (6:34), love (10:21), indignation (10:14), amazement at the lack of faith of some people (6:6), and sorrow and anguish (14:34).”
Jesus purposefully shed his very deity and put on human overalls!
(Complete with all the mess and pain!)
In doing so, He was able to truly see life from our perspective and experience life from our shoes.
God came in human form so that He could –
Truly know us.
Truly extend compassion.
Truly lead from a place of experience!
In his 33 years on this earth, I believe Jesus experienced the full spectrum of our human existence and we shouldn’t minimize the importance of this status. It makes him approachable and real and gives us confidence that he understands what we are going through in this life.
Like the Undercover Boss employees, shouldn’t we respond with awe and gratitude that the very creator of the universe sent his only son into the world to live among us?
Shouldn’t we be thankful every single day that Christ was willing to humble himself for our sake?
Shouldn’t we sincerely appreciate that we have a “Boss” that truly cares for us and truly understands?
I’m praying that we live our lives in full appreciation for what Christ has done. That we live in awe that God loved us so much that He sent His son for us. That Christ was willing to not only die for us but willing to step down and “make himself nothing”; just so that He could show us His great love. May we always remember that God truly understands and truly cares!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17