You who are rich in this world, but have nothing in God, pay attention to what I say. I will be your “Ghost of Christmas Future”, for it is bleak. Feel the heaviness as you buckle under with uncontrollable sobbing. For behold, your riches have disintegrated and your “toys” are all broken. Everything you have valued has been devalued – the memory of your loss will haunt you forever. Are you unaware of the significance of this time in which you store up your temporary riches?
All the money you gained by taking advantage of the misfortunes of others will come back to haunt you. And the cries of those devastated by your greed have reached the ears of God. You have lived a life doing what you wanted when you wanted, and your greed has made you fat just in time for the butcher. You have condemned the righteous, you have squashed his life … yet he makes no move against you.
My beloved family, wait for God's work to take care of itself, for He brings all things to a conclusion. Learn a lesson from the farmer who waits for the ground to produce its crop. Though it rains in the spring and later toward the end of summer, most of the time it is dry. But he knows that the dry season is all part of the growing cycle, so he is not discouraged as he waits for the expected rains. Be like that farmer, wait in hope. And know that this time, where the more you look for growth the less you see it, will come to a close. Be strengthened in knowing that this lack of appearance is not a mistake. For you are those whose gaze has been fixed upon the reality of freedom – don't fall back into comparing each other to unkept principles. Otherwise, you will find yourself playing a game in which you also come up short. Consider this: the Judge, with His righteous judgment eagerly waits to reveal the righteous ones and their righteous deeds. So, why do you insist on evaluating by a system that will never detect it?
You have not been left without some positive role models in this high calling of suffering and patience, you know. Consider the heroes of old who spoke in God's name. Don't we respect them because of the hardships they endured? Job has become the icon of 'suffering without cause'. His wife begged him to curse God and die. His three friends (who first sat silently for a week in mourning) ended up taking turns trying to convince him that he was to blame for all the tragedies. And yet the conclusion of the story was that God justified him and restored to him more than what he lost. For despite appearances, God remains faithful and compassionate.
Do you know what I want you to learn most of all? That you don't have to fall into the trap of trying to prove the truthfulness of your words with more words. After all, how much validity is added to what you say by affirming it with, “I swear to God!”? A thing is either true or it is not; let your words reflect that reality without having to call upon a mute god to backup what you say. Otherwise, you force yourself back into the mentality of judging and being judged. Is that what you want?
So, let your words fit with what's really going on. If you are suffering, let your words be directed to the One who is working the very best in your life. If you are encouraged, let your words come out in songs of praise and rejoicing. If you are in a weakened condition, let your words call for those who stand strong in Christ so that their words are directed to God on your behalf as they present you as one in whom the Spirit lives. And the prayer of faith will deliver you and the Lord will pull you out of this. And as far as any sins that have been produced, they will not be held against you.
Therefore, be open with one another about such faults and together speak to the Father so that healing may take place. For the true words that issue forth from those made righteous by God can accomplish much. The prophet, Elijah, was a man just like you and me and he spoke the words of God that it would not rain, and it didn't rain for three and a half years. Then he spoke again and the rains poured down so that the earth bore fruit again.
My friends: if you see one among you who strays from the truth and you turn him around, I want you to know that the one who shakes a sinner from his deception will deliver his soul from death and will cover a lot of sin.