I was working on my homework for school this weekend, going through the book of Acts, and this just jumped at me. So, here it is... fresh out of the oven...
In Acts 8:14-24, we find the story of Simon the sorcerer. Peter and John have been dispatched to Samaria from Jerusalem to help disciple the new converts there. When they get there they discover that had not been taught or baptized with the Holy Spirit, so they lay their hands on them. When Simon saw this, he offered Peter and John money to give him the power to pray for people and have them be filled with the Spirit.
Now, I realize that this is a small obscure story that we mostly pass over, but I think there is a lot of nuggety goodness here. I will also try to be short in my explanation of it.
We can see from the disciples reaction that Simon obviously didn't have the the right heart in his request. He was selfish, greedy, and ignorant, and was quickly corrected by Peter. The good thing is that this story has a happy ending, Simon repented and asked for the disciples prayers. But, I do think that this illustrates a still prevalent attitude towards God.
1. Selfish - There are plenty of Christians today that treat Jesus this way. Their are in it for themselves. What am I going to get out of it? Make me feel good God. I want. I need. You hear it in their prayers, you see it in their actions, and you feel it in their worship. Their relationship with The Almighty is based on what they get out of it.
2. Greedy - Unfortunately, this is still very much a reality today. There are Christians who aren't really in it for what God is going to give them, but how they can use Jesus, or the Church as a tool to gain something. Money, power, influence all exist in the church, and in their right place they are well used tools. But, all to often we get distracted or disjointed and the ministry can become a means to and end.
3. Ignorant - I think this is the least harmful, and yet most prolific of the three. There are many believers that simply don't understand why Jesus died and what they are supposed to do with the freedom and power they have been given. This sometimes is out of selfishness or greed, but isn't precluded to. There are some people that just haven't come to the realization that they are meant to be a missionary in their job, neighborhood, and yes even their church.
However, just as for Simon, there is a happy ending around the corner for us. We too have the opportunity to repent and turn around. It may not be face to face with one of the original disciples, but repentance is still available for everyone who wants it.
How do you view your relationship with the Creator? Do you fall into any of these categories? Many not all of the time, but some of the time?
- Just a thought