April 11, 2018
Read: Acts 8:9-25
May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! (v. 20)
In 1514, Albert of Brandenburg became the archbishop of Mainz, the most powerful church leader in Germany. In order to win this appointment, Albert paid Pope Leo X an “installation fee” of 10,000 ducats, which Albert borrowed from a German banking house. To enable Albert to repay his loan, the pope issued him a license to sell indulgences throughout the German principalities, provided Albert split the proceeds with Rome. When salesmen fanned out across Germany hawking indulgences—essentially a written guarantee promising escape from the punishment of sin—it aroused the ire of a monk named Martin Luther. So you could say that Albert’s ambition and Leo’s greed touched off the Reformation.
Peter and John ran into another unsavory character when they traveled to Samaria to check on the gospel’s progress there. Simon was so impressed with their spiritual power that he offered to pay Peter for the secret, one magician doing business with another, as Simon no doubt thought. But among the many things money can’t buy is a relationship with God.
Simon did get one thing out of this encounter though—infamy! Simony is the name for financial corruption in the church, such as buying or selling an office, or using one’s position for self-enrichment. To anyone who would turn the ministry into a personal get-rich scheme, God’s Word thunders: “Your money perish with you!” —David Bast
Prayer: Lord, continue to reform your church according to your Word.