“Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.”
The parable of the Prodigal Son is often focused on the action of the son who left his father. Every once in awhile, the elder son’s jealousy that revealed itself when his brother had a supper made for him because of his return is talked about. Each of these boys have given us plenty of examples from which we can learn.
However, maybe the greatest part of this parable that is missed is the wisdom of the father in how he dealt with both of these boys. As easy as it would have been to compare the one son to the other, the father allowed each son to be their own entity. Yes, he talked about the need to have a supper for the returning prodigal to the elder son, but he never one time compared them to each other. The father allowed each son to be their own entity, and to allow their actions to be dealt with accordingly.
One of the biggest mistakes leadership can make is to compare one person to another. 2 Corinthians 10:12 warns about comparing individuals when it says, “…but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” Sadly, I’m afraid many people have used leadership’s comparisons as their excuse as to why they won’t serve the LORD. Let me give you a few helps about comparing people.
First, allow each individual to be their own entity. It is easy to compare siblings with each other, but you must never allow that to happen because each child is their own entity. God made each person differently, and to compare them with each other is to take God’s unique creation away from them. No matter how tempted you are to compare someone to another, don’t do it. Every person needs to have their own identity without leadership comparing them to another.
Second, comparison often leads to bitterness and discouragement. The one who is always being compared to others will often be discouraged because they don’t feel they are ever good enough. If you continue to compare someone to another, you are likely to open the door to that individual becoming bitter. You may think that bitterness is no excuse, and you are right, but you shouldn’t contribute to their excuse by comparing them to others. The Devil uses anything to give someone an excuse or a cause to stop serving the LORD. If you allow people to be their own entity, you take away one of the Devil’s tools that causes people to get discouraged or bitter.
Third, comparing one with another gives the weaker person an excuse to stay weak. The weaker person often realizes they are never good enough, so they settle for staying weak instead of striving to improve. Leadership should be the catalyst to encourage growth and not the tool that makes one bitter by comparing individual entities.
My friend, always allow people to be their own entity. When you allow people to be their own entity, you can work with the areas where they are weak and strengthen the areas where they may be strong. By allowing each person to be their own entity, you will endear them to you, which allows you the opportunity to help them grow. If you look at people as their own entity, you will then see them as God does and it helps you to help others to become what God wants them to be.