It's never too late. Working on a Ph.D. in astrophysics in 1974, the man had a conflict with a job, so he chose to put off the dissertation to pursue the career opportunity. Finally, in 2007, he completed his Ph.D. and worked on the project that is bringing us images from Pluto.
So, still being part of the career path he chose, he now enjoys the best of both worlds. What was his career that delayed his work on studying light bouncing off dust in space? Rock music. His name is Brian May, and he plays guitar for a band named Queen which brought a host of hits in the 1970s and 80s. Brian learned it's never too late.
Now, you can go tell me that the university gave some leeway to Dr. May because he was Brian May, but I somehow think that's not true, given my interaction in programs as rigorous and prestigious as Astrophysics. Having met professors who believe their job is to maintain purity in the program, Dr. May probably had his work cut out for him, but he learned it's never too late. He made a difference once he completed his work and became Dr. May in fact.
That's true in faith as well. It's never too late. Christ teaches us that in the "Parable of the Vineyard." (Matthew 20:1 - 16) Essentially, men hired at the beginning of the day were paid the same wage as people hired at the end of the day. Of course, like with all of us, that created some dissention. The owner of the vineyard answers, "I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? So, the last will be first and the first will be last." (13 - 16)
Note the direct answer from Christ. "I am not being unfair. Take your pay and go. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money?" Translation: My forgiveness at anytime is not unfair no matter the sin, and the man who comes to me and receives faith gets the same grace you do, because it is I who provide faith and forgiveness and mercy.
We will rejoice in heaven regardless of when a person came to faith or who that person is. We pray for those around us that the Spirit move them to faith and that they receive that forgiveness, love, mercy and grace that awaits them. It's never too late.
Hope Men's Ministry
For more on Brian May and the Pluto project, click here for a brief article from The Smithsonian.