"But Peter said to him, 'May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God's gift with money! You have no part or share in this, for your heart is not right before God...'"
Simon was a traveling magician. Evidently, a pretty good one, too. In Samaria, he'd wowed the people for some time. He proclaimed to be someone great, and the people believed him. Then along came Philip with the power of the Holy Spirit, and even Simon was impressed by what God could do through him!
Peter & John came to Samaria after a while and began baptizing people with the Holy Spirit. Simon, who'd been following Philip constantly offered to pay Peter & John money so he, too, could empower people with the Holy Spirit. As you might imagine, this didn't go over well, and Simon was severely chastised. God's gifts can't be bought, they told him.
We modern Christians hear this story and nod approvingly. "Good for Simon... he got what was coming to him. The nerve!" And yet, are we as innocent as we think? How often do we make a financial donation/gift to a church or ministry or spiritual leader and inwardly expect God's return blessing? Do we believe belonging to a particular church or attending a particular school will make us more spiritual? God's gifts can't be bought. If our heart is in the right place, then our resources can be used for God with no strings attached. God's gifts come when God knows we need them most. And that's the way it should be.