9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
Simon thought he was something pretty special. Pride and self- importance went with him wherever he went. He had built a following under false pretense that was soon to be shown for what it was. But when Philip spoke the truth and proclaimed the gospel of Jesus, even Simon could not deny it. He had to know more. I imagine Simon’s astonishment came from the realization that what Philip was proclaiming and the miracles he witnessed were very different from what he had been able to do by his own strength and intellect. There is no comparison between the finite ability of man and the infinite power of God.
I wish I could say that Simon was a completely changed man because of what he learned from Philip, but like many of us, Simon would struggle a bit more with being the center of attention (Acts 8:14-24). But we can learn a lot from this small interaction between Philip and Simon. Selfish motives and a heart that seeks to build itself up in the eyes of others will always have limits and will eventually be seen for what it is. But when our motives are to advance the Kingdom of God – to make the name of Jesus known…the sky’s the limit!
We have a choice each day to put our energies into being who God created us to be and building his kingdom on the power of Jesus Christ, or we can choose to build our own kingdom on the weakness of our selfishness and pride. Which will you choose today?