For Jesus, the highest value for followers is fruitfulness
Jesus tells three hard-hitting stories bearing on fruitfulness in Matthew 21.
One, the Parable of the Vineyard. This is where the renters beat and killed servants, then killed the son of the landowner so they would, so they thought, have the entire inheritance. Finally, the land owner returns. At the end of the dialogue Jesus informs that the Kingdom of God will be given to those who produce its fruit.
Two, the Parable of the Two Sons. One rebels, but in the end is obedient. The other agrees to serve, but does not. The religious elders condemn themselves by judging that the first son did the right thing. It sinks in that Jesus puts the elders in the second category. However, between the lines it is clear that Jesus would prefer followers who will both agree to serve and indeed serve to produce fruit.
Three, the Parable of the Fig Tree. Jesus is hungry and passes by a fig tree that has no fruit. He has no patience with that and tells the fig tree it will be forever fruitless. It withers on the spot. It is clear that Jesus has no patience with fruitlessness. His highest value for His followers is fruitfulness. Perhaps it is this fraction of fruitful people whom he comments are on the narrow path. All others on the wide, more traveled path, are headed for profound disappointment.
Where are you on the spectrum of Kingdom fruitfulness? What are others saying about you? What will Jesus say about you? Note that Jesus is the judge.
Nelson Malwitz, Finishers Project Founder, December 2009