In his parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus taught that length of service is not a factor that determines our entrance into his eternal kingdom. However, other passages teach that there are rewards for quality of service after we get there.
Workers in the Vineyard
In this parable, Jesus teaches about the judgment. He said in Matthew 16:27, "For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done". So the judgment of believers is an end-time topic, not simply a topic about what happens when we die.

In the parable, the owner calls people to work in his vineyard. The vineyard represents Christ's kingdom, as in Isaiah 27:2 for example. So the parable represents the call of the Gospel for people to be converted and follow Jesus. Some people become Christians early on in their lives, like the workers who start in the morning. Others become Christians much later, perhaps even on their death-beds, like the workers who start at 5pm and only work for one hour. At 6pm, everyone receives their pay and each is paid the same amount. But what does their pay represent? It seems that it represents their welcome into Christ's heavenly kingdom. We receive this because of Christ's generosity and grace. It is wrong to think of it as something we earn or deserve.

However, Jesus taught elsewhere that we will receive different rewards according to the quality of our service. For example, in his parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), he spoke about his allocation of positions of responsibility when we rule with him in his millennial kingdom. And in Matthew 6:19-21, he taught us to store up treasures in heaven, not on earth. In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, the Apostle Paul taught that our works will be judged by fire. He said, "If someone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire".

So although the parable of the workers teaches that length of service is not a factor that determines our entrance into Christ's eternal kingdom, there are still rewards for quality of service after we get there.

Jesus used the metaphor of a vineyard in several other parables including:
-the parable of the two sons (Matthew 21:28-32)
-the parable of the tenants (Matthew 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19)
-the parable of the fig tree in the vineyard (Luke 13:6-9)

And in John 15:1-17, Jesus likens himself to a vine, his followers to branches on the vine, and God the Father to the gardener.
Symbols: Vineyard
Tags: Judgments and rewards, Day of Judgment, Life after death
Workers in the Vineyard
20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.
2 And after agreeing with the workers for the standard wage, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 When it was about nine o’clock in the morning, he went out again and saw others standing around in the marketplace without work.
4 He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and I will give you whatever is right.’
5 So they went. When he went out again about noon and three o’clock that afternoon, he did the same thing.
6 And about five o’clock that afternoon he went out and found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why are you standing here all day without work?’
7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go and work in the vineyard too.’
8 When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and give the pay starting with the last hired until the first.’
9 When those hired about five o’clock came, each received a full day’s pay.
10 And when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more. But each one also received the standard wage.
11 When they received it, they began to complain against the landowner,
12 saying, ‘These last fellows worked one hour, and you have made them equal to us who bore the hardship and burning heat of the day.’
13 And the landowner replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am not treating you unfairly. Didn’t you agree with me to work for the standard wage?
14 Take what is yours and go. I want to give to this last man the same as I gave to you.
15 Am I not permitted to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”