What struck me about this story is the similarity between Simon and so many believers in the church today. God has rescued us from our sin and adopted us into His kingdom but we still think and operate as if worldly principles still applied to us.
Simon was a great man with great powers before Christ. When he perceived what he deemed a good opportunity to be a great man with great powers in Christ, he jumped on it. What he soon learned is that the kingdom of God does not work like the kingdom of the world. Simon probably had good intentions. He wanted to be great in God's kingdom. He just didn't know how to accomplish that so he fell back to the world's formula for greatness.
We do the same thing. We pursue opportunities in church or ministry that the world would think are prestigious. We have good intentions.....we just go about greatness the wrong way. Greatness in God's kingdom is service. Service that is unconcerned about who knows about it or how it is perceived while we are here on earth.
Greatness is loving God and serving others and knowing that great is our reward in heaven.