Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”
Jesus is clear in the Gospel that life is not a contest in righteousness for all of us – He shares that life is a Team sport and not an individual competition (in fact, He hand-picked His own Team, the Apostles). We, as Believers, are Called by Jesus to work together as a Team (e.g. in Churches, Families, workplaces, schools, etc.) wherever He “plants” us to help enable the entire Body of Christ to have a direct relationship with Jesus Christ – which will then lead to Repentance (Mercy) and Life Everlasting (Grace). We should never look on others as if they are or were “more guilty” than any of us. In fact, all of us are sinners and fall short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23). So, where does that leave us? Or, to ask it in another, how does one get “left behind”? Jesus Calls us in the Gospels to “Cultivate” others and “Fertilize” them in Him, so that they, too, might “Bear Fruit” and we need to do this as soon as possible. The clock is ticking and time is running out, because He also makes it clear that if we don’t bear Fruit for Him (in ourselves and in others), then, like a barren fig tree, we might get “cut down” and thrown into the eternal fire. So, let’s play “Team Ball” and be keen to make sure that we are Good Teammates for each other. The Prize of Eternal Life can never be “earned” (Ephesians 2:9), but It can be “Bestowed” upon us. And, that’s a Prize more valuable than any trophies in this world.