Hidden Nuggets Series #93 – “…he offered them money saying, ‘Give me this power also…'” (Acts 8:19)
Throw a few greenbacks in the offering plate and be showered with the blessings of God.
Unfortunately many believe it. There are churches out there preaching that the more money you give to God the more He will bless you. Misinterpretation of verses like Luke 6:38 (“Give and it shall be given to you…”) lend credence to the notion God’s favor can be bought for the right price.
It’s nothing new. This idea has been around for centuries. In fact, Peter – one of Jesus’ disciples – dealt with it in the early days of the church.
Trying to Buy the Blessings of God
Old habits are hard to break. Even when we’ve committed to turning over a new leaf the baggage still lingers. We often carry it forward for a while until we are weaned from its grip.
The Bible speaks of a man named Simon who practiced sorcery in the region of Samaria. He had astounded the people with his wizardry and many claimed him to be endowed with power from God. No doubt he made a good living performing for the people.
He happened to hear Jesus’ disciple Philip speak one day and lo and behold Simon believed the message. The Bible tells us in Acts 8:13 that he became a follower of Jesus and began to hang around with Philip.
When word spread that the message of salvation had reached Samaria, Peter and John were sent along to investigate. When they came they:
“…prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit…Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:15, 17)
Now the “receiving of the Holy Spirit” was not a casual event in those days. When it first came on the disciples earlier in Acts while they met in the upper room it was accompanied by fire and a great rushing wind. So this incident in Samaria must have been a very dramatic scene that impressed all those who were present…including Simon.
“And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 8:18-19)
There comes the baggage. Simon’s whole life had been about earning money through performance. A flick of the wrist here…a little deception there. He has hit the mother load here if he can learn to conjure up some wind and fire with only a little touch.
It’s All About the Heart
Peter of course saw through it all to the heart (literally) of the issue and said,
“Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness…” (Acts 8:20-22)
The blessings of God are clearly not for sale.
Has money become your tool to manipulate others, including God? He does have a boatload of blessings to give but only to those whose heart is right and whose intentions are pure.
Questions: Have you ever made a bargain with God saying, “I’ll give you this money if you do this for me?” How do you make sure your heart is right when giving money?