Troubles for rich people
1 Now, listen to me, you rich people. Weep and cry aloud, because many troubles will soon happen to you. 2 Your money no longer has any value. Insects have eaten your beautiful clothes and spoiled them. 3 You have stored silver and gold coins to spend for yourselves. But dirt has spoiled those coins. That dirt will show that you are guilty. It will become like fire that is burning your bodies. In the last days of this world you have stored all this money for yourselves. 4 But you have not paid anything to the people who worked in your fields. Listen! You have cheated them and now they are speaking against you. The Lord of great power has heard them when they shout to him for help. He knows that you are guilty. 5 As you live here on this earth, you have had all that you wanted. You have lived like kings. You have eaten as much food as you want. So now you are like fat animals that are ready for men to kill. 6 As for the person who has not done anything wrong, you say that he is guilty. You have even killed him. He could not stand against you.
5:6Rich people must be careful about how they use their money. Their money comes from God and they are his servants. If they use their money only to make themselves happy, God will punish them. He knows when they cheat other people. He wants us all to be good to people who work for us. We should pay them properly. It also makes God happy when rich people give money to help poor people.
Be patient until the Lord comes again
7 So, my Christian friends, be patient until the Lord Jesus returns. Think about how a farmer is patient. He waits for the ground to give him his valuable food. He waits patiently for the rain to come in the autumn and in the spring. 8 You also must be patient, because the Lord will return soon. Be strong as you continue to trust him.
9 My Christian friends, do not say bad things against each other. If you do, God will punish you. So be careful! He is the Judge and he is ready now to judge people.
10 Think about how God's prophets also were patient. They spoke messages on behalf of the Lord. Many troubles happened to them but they were patient. So, my Christian friends, you should copy their example. 11 We know that God blessed people who were like that. They continued to trust God when trouble happened to them. You have heard about Job. He waited patiently for God to help him in his troubles. You know how the Lord helped him in the end. Because of that, we see that the Lord God is very kind and he helps us.
12 Here is another important thing to remember, my Christian friends. When you want to make a strong promise, never use extra words. Do not say, ‘I promise by heaven,’ or ‘I promise by the earth.’ Do not use any extra words like that. When you say ‘yes’, that should be enough. When you say ‘no’, that should also be enough. If you say more than that, God will say that you have done a wrong thing.
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Then they should pray to God about it. Or, is anyone feeling happy? They should sing and praise God. 14 Is anyone ill? They should ask the leaders of the church to come and to pray for them. The leaders should put some olive oil on the sick person. They should pray for him with the authority of the Lord Jesus. 15 If they pray in that way and they trust that God will answer them, the sick person will become well again. The Lord will cause him to become well. And God will forgive him if he has done any wrong things.
16 So, you should tell each other about any wrong things that you have done. Then you will be able to pray for each other, so that God makes you well again. When a good person prays to God, God does powerful things. 17 For example, God's prophet Elijah was the same kind of person as we are. One time he prayed to God that it would not rain. He continued to pray and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 After that time, he prayed to God to send rain again. As a result, rain came down from the sky. The seeds that were in the ground began to grow and give food.
19 My Christian friends, if anyone among you turns away from God's true message, you should help him. Try to bring him back to God. 20 Understand this: If you turn a person back from his bad ways, you will save that person's soul from death. And God will forgive that person for his many sins.
5:20As believers, we should help one another to serve God well. We should pray for one another. If someone in our group of believers is ill, or they are in trouble, we should help them. But God can help them better than we can, so we must also pray to him. When we do wrong things, we should ask our Christian friends to pray for us. Then God will forgive us and he will help us to serve him better. God always listens to the prayers of believers who trust him and obey him.