If you are like me, you like new and exciting things. I am an Apple fan so almost anytime they make a presentation I watch or follow along as various tech blogs live tweet the event. I want to know what their next big thing will be. I want to know what will the next Mac OS or iOS be like. What features will they have? When will the next iPhone or MacBook be out?
You may not be into Apple or even tech, but there’s probably something like that in your life. We’re looking for the next big fad. So many of us want to belong, want to be in the know, or want to be equipped with the latest and greatest.
That was Simon in Acts 8. Typically when we read this story, we think of sorcery or Simony, which is paying for a position in the church. While those are applicable to this passage, I’m beginning to see Simon in a new light as I’ve been reading and reflecting on his brief episode in scripture.
He was a big deal before Philip came along. When Philip showed up, however, he saw an opportunity to be a part of the next big thing. Philip had greater power than Simon and told them about Jesus. Then Peter and John showed up and began giving the Holy Spirit. Simon saw his opportunity to be a part of the next big thing and he probably did what came naturally to him. He wanted to pay for it. And I think if we were honest with ourselves, many of us would admit being guilty of the same thing that Simon was.
Is your sink clogged? Buy some Drano. Is your phone acting up? Buy a new one. Is your computer slow? Buy a new one. Is your car not getting the same gas mileage it used to? Buy something or pay someone to come and fix the problem. Are you wanting to get in better shape, learn a new language, or make a lot of money? It won’t take much scrolling on Facebook to find someone offering the 3, 5, or 10 steps to happiness.
We live in a culture that has Simon’s mindset. I can pay for whatever it is I want. Everyone is selling something and has a secret to success. Simon learned that the church is different. The church is not a business. There’s no way to buy sucess. There aren’t 10 steps to happiness. And no one has it all figured out.
And that’s the true secret of the church. We’re not a business. You can’t buy position, success, power, or position. It’s a community. We are a family. We give freely to one another and work through the power of the Spirit. We’re going to mess up. We might have to speak some hard words to each other but we are also their to comfort and forgive.
While the world is asking you to sign up for the next webinar that will tell you the 10 steps to success in whatever your field is so that you can be a part of the next big thing, God offers us the chance to belong. We don’t need to pay, enroll, or subscribe, we only need to ask. Simon was held captive to a life where he had to pay for the next big thing and we can be held captive in the same way. Instead, like Simon, let’s get rid of our thinking that there are any number of steps to happiness or secrets of sucess and remember that God gives freely to those looking for him and no subscrition is needed.