"Performance or Genuine Faith"
Today's reading: Acts 8:9-13 (NIV) 9Now 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, 10and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, "This man is the divine power known as the Great Power." 11They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. 12But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
Scene I: Hey you – look over here at what I am doing! I am Simon and I can do amazing things because I have the power. Watch me, I will perform magic, I can tell you about your future, I know when it will rain and where a good place to plant your crops are. Come back everyday, I will have a new message for you and I want you to see what I can do for you.
Scene II: Sir, I believe you are new in town, may I help you? Do you and your friends need a place to stay or food? No, we are fine; we have enough for the Lord God has been providing for us. We have joined together and share our food and belongings and help each other and all our needs are met. We believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God, who was crucified in Jerusalem, have you heard about him? You haven’t, well let me tell you about Jesus.
When the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, people listen! There is something miraculous about God’s word and it has nothing to do with being magical. There are no tricks when God’s word is spoken or read or heard. They are God’s word, nothing less than divine!
Have you known someone like Simon with the attitude of it’s all about me? Trying to have a conversation with them is difficult and often doesn’t last long. I find myself trying to stay away from those conversations, probably not the right thing to do.
How about knowing someone like Philip? Perhaps a friend or acquaintance whose mere presence, behavior, character, kindness and compassion all exude a deep spiritual life. Those are the kind of people I love to be around, they encourage me to be better, they are the type of person I want to strive to be, I want to grow spiritually because of what I witness in them.
This is possibly the type of person Philip was, for people listened to him and they believed. The scripture does not tell us what type of speaker he is or if he is a leader, it tells us of the power behind him and the truth of the message he shared. It tells us that the Holy Spirit is at work in Philip, in the hearts and mind of the Samaritans and even in Simon. They believed and were baptized. Do you know someone that needs to hear about Jesus so they too will be baptized?
If you do, be Philip and share Christ with others.