St. Johns Parish Church Johns Island SC

When You Get a Gift, the Giver has a Claim on You

Acts 8:9-24

Simon the Magician Believes
9But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” 11And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.  14Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. 18Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” 24And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.” 
What was the problem? He wanted to help people by giving them the Holy Spirit.  He saw how dramatically the Holy Spirit changed lives so he wanted to be a part of that.  That is a noble goal. Participate in the healings and giftings. What did Simon do wrong? He offered money but that in itself was not the problem.  The problem, as Jane said and Steve, was that buying something means you own it. You are in control. This is the problem that wrecked Simon’s desire for ministry.  He did not want it as a gift. He wanted to purchase it so that it was not under someone else. A gift makes the receiver “owned” in a way by the giver, indebted to the giver.  When you get a gift, the giver has a claim on you. When you buy something you are free and clear to use it or not use it however you like. You are god over your possessions.  That little pocket knife that my grandfather gave me….no...I have to take care of that, honor that, respect that. My grandfather has a claim on me through that little knife.
We need to all stop for a minute every day and repent about being little Simon’s in our own lives regarding the gifts God has given us.  Are we using all that we have, all that we do, all that we are, to honor God.

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