A Warning to Rich and Selfish People
1 You rich people, listen! Cry and be very sad because much trouble will come to you. 2 Your riches will rot and be worth nothing. Your clothes will be eaten by moths. 3 Your gold and silver will rust, and that rust will be a proof that you were wrong. That rust will eat your bodies like fire. You saved your treasure in the last days. 4 People worked in your fields, but you did not pay them. They are crying out against you. They harvested your crops. Now the Lord All-Powerful has heard their cries.
Your life on earth was full of rich living. You pleased yourselves with everything you wanted. You made yourselves fat, like an animal ready for the day of slaughter.* 6
You showed no mercy to good people. They were not against you, but you killed them.
Brothers and sisters, be patient; the Lord will come. So be patient until that time. Look at the farmers. They have to be patient. They have to wait for their valuable crop to grow and produce a harvest. They wait patiently for the first rain and the last rain.† 8
You must be patient too. Never stop hoping. The Lord is coming soon. 9
Brothers and sisters, don’t complain against each other. If you don’t stop complaining, you will be judged guilty. And the Judge is ready to come!
Brothers and sisters, follow the example of the prophets who spoke for the Lord. They suffered many bad things, but they were patient. 11
And we say that those who accepted their troubles with patience now have God’s blessing. You have heard about Job’s patience.‡
You know that after all his troubles, the Lord helped him. This shows that the Lord is full of mercy and is kind.
Be Careful What You Say
12 My brothers and sisters, it is very important that you not use an oath when you make a promise. Don’t use the name of heaven, earth, or anything else to prove what you say. When you mean yes, say only “yes.” When you mean no, say only “no.” Do this so that you will not be judged guilty.
The Power of Prayer
Are you having troubles? You should pray. Are you happy? You should sing. 14
Are you sick? Ask the elders of the church to come and rub oil on you§
in the name of the Lord and pray for you. 15
If such a prayer is offered in faith, it will heal anyone who is sick. The Lord will heal them. And if they have sinned, he will forgive them.
16 So always tell each other the wrong things you have done. Then pray for each other. Do this so that God can heal you. Anyone who lives the way God wants can pray, and great things will happen. 17 Elijah was a person just like us. He prayed that it would not rain. And it did not rain on the land for three and a half years! 18 Then Elijah prayed that it would rain. And the rain came down from the sky, and the land grew crops again.
Helping People When They Sin
19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone wanders away from the truth and someone helps that person come back, 20 remember this: Anyone who brings a sinner back from the wrong way will save that person from eternal death and cause many sins to be forgiven.