For at least 2000 years the downhearted and defeated have told themselves that their suffering in this world prepares them for glory in the world to come. The talmud, eg, tells us to welcome suffering because suffering burns away sin. The Catholic Church's very first, very succesful, marketing campaign was directed at Roman slaves who were promised that joining the Church would make them masters in heaven. It doesn't take much imagination or sympathy to understand why such promises are appealing. In fact they are still used today, by rabbis I know, to comfort those who are sad, sick, or down on their luck.
What sweet stories do the comfortable and content people tell themselves? Suppose you've sled through life on a toboggan of luxury and comfort. Dad and the father-in-law paid for everything. The wife kept her figure. The family stayed healthy. How do you ready yourself to face your maker knowing that you've never had the soul cleansing experiences of pain, agony and despair? How do the comfortable and content respond to the teaching which speak of the benefits of pain? The poor and broken have a comforting teaching. Do the richies have one, too?
UPDATE: Fred says The Rich Go to Heaven: Giving Charity in Jewish Thought provides the answer to my question
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