A Warning to Rich and Selfish People
1You rich people, listen! Cry and be very sad because much trouble will come to you. 2Your riches will rot and be worth nothing. Your clothes will be eaten by moths. 3Your 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. 4People 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.
5Your 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.#5:5 You made yourselves fat … slaughter Literally, “You fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.” 6You showed no mercy to good people. They were not against you, but you killed them.
7Brothers 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.#5:7 first rain … last rain The “first rain” came in the fall, and the “last rain” came in the spring. 8You must be patient too. Never stop hoping. The Lord is coming soon. 9Brothers 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!
10Brothers and sisters, follow the example of the prophets who spoke for the Lord. They suffered many bad things, but they were patient. 11And we say that those who accepted their troubles with patience now have God’s blessing. You have heard about Job’s patience.#5:11 Job’s patience See the book of Job in the Old Testament. 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
12My 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
13Are you having troubles? You should pray. Are you happy? You should sing. 14Are you sick? Ask the elders of the church to come and rub oil on you#5:14 rub oil on you Oil was used like medicine. in the name of the Lord and pray for you. 15If 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.
16So 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. 17Elijah 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! 18Then 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
19My brothers and sisters, if anyone wanders away from the truth and someone helps that person come back, 20remember 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.