Scripture: Acts 8:14-25
Key verse: (20) “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money!”
Reflection: Who was it that said money can’t buy happiness? I’m sure a lot of people have said it, but take a moment and google the phrase, the results are interesting. Some results I saw say, “Money can’t buy happiness … but it can buy chocolate!” You can imagine how other results just swapped chocolate out for books, wine, cars, a house, etc. And yet within the more humorous results was also a study by Emory economics professors about the length and relative happiness of marriages in relation to the cost of the wedding. Now this study, nor any study are final on any subject, but it is interesting to note our actions and what research and experience show us.
In our text for today, Simon wasn’t necessarily trying to buy happiness, but instead a gift from God. Throughout history we’ve seen this, whether from indulgences paid to offset sins or Richard Mellon’s funding of a church in Pittsburgh nicknamed “Mellon’s fire escape”, hinting not so subtly that he may have tried to pay for his salvation. In our text, Simon’s desire for the gifts of God don’t seem malicious, they don’t even seem to be self-serving, and yet the disciples rebuked him and called Simon to repent. Simon responds as if he were surprised, and responds faithfully, asking for the disciples to pray for him.
I wonder about Simon, and I wonder about us. Was Simon just living as he saw others live, using money to acquire what he wanted? I wonder what his relationship with money was like after this moment. I wonder how his relationship with money affected his relationship with God, and I wonder if after this moment he had a new relationship with God, and how that affected his relationship with money? Take time today, consider your relationship with your faith and with money, consider the time spent with each, the energy around each, the trust in each. Notice throughout the day how often you speak of each and how you speak of each. And may we come to know that the greatest gifts from God cannot be bought, but are found in the free gift of God’s grace, inviting us into relationship with God and one another.
Prayer: Gracious God, we give you thanks for the blessings of this day and the gift of life. May we deepen our trust in you while holding loosely to all else that fades away. Open us to the joy of relationship with you that is a free gift of grace from Christ our Lord. Inspire us to share that joy with others and to show your love in all we do. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].