The parables of the laborers in the vineyard and the prodigal son seem to suggest that it really doesn’t matter how hard you work, how long you work, how diligent you are, how much you suffer or how much you sacrifice. In the end all that really matters is that you repent of your sins and accept the gospel and the Savior. Everyone who does this shares the same reward. So if everyone gets the same reward, what’s the advantage of working harder or being more diligent in keeping the commandments?
My friend’s grandmother became less-active when she was a young mother, and later returned to the church and received in temple blessings when she was in her 70’s. You seem to be asking, assuming that she receives Celestial Glory, why don’t we all do that?
Well, let’s consider what she missed out on. First of all, only two of her children stayed in the church. Of the children that didn’t, almost none of the grandchildren, and likely the great-grandchildren will be in the church. Our actions/example affect our posterity for generations.
What if she had died earlier before she had a chance to return? Before she had a chance to repent?
I was there when she received her endowments. It was at a small temple, with no chapel. We all waited in the Endowment room, and when she came in from receiving her initiatory, she was glowing with happiness. I had never seen her smile like that before.
For the years that she was less active, consider all the comfort and guidance from Priesthood blessings she missed out on. Spiritual gifts that she might have received. Fellowship of the Saints that she might have enjoyed.
It’s like God has laid out a beautiful feast for us, fruits from all over the world, and entrees from the greatest chefs, and you are suggesting we say, “Nah, I’ll pass. I’ll come back and have some at the end of my life. I don’t want these gifts now, Lord.”
It’s up to each person to choose for themselves, of course, but for me…I’ll take the spiritual feast right now!