"I'd like to start a religion, that's where the money is." (Wikiquote.org)
~ L. Ron Hubbard ~
How sad. That any man would think such a thing, and then say it in public is ghastly! What's even worse is that he was sincere about it. He is the driving force behind the "Scientology" movement...
In one of the Apostle Paul's pastoral letters to Timothy, he addresses such people with desires like Hubbard's. In 1Timothy, Paul recounts the warnings he had for the church in Ephesus. False teachers there were inventing false doctrines, some with a hint of Mosical law, in order that they may gain religious leadership roles and financial wealth.
Reading now from (1Timothy 6:3-5) we find these words:
"If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain."
Wow, that is quite an fiery indictment! Paul leaves no doubt about the nature of such people who seek after a "pulpit for profit." In a time when there was no complete, written form of the New Testament gospel of Jesus Christ, false teachers saw potential opportunities to lead many people astray from the truths of God. This could easily lead to much money in their "church" coffers...
However, beginning in (VV 6-8), Paul brings the true riches of God's word back into crystal clarity. He teaches that our rewards are in heaven, and not in the things of this world. Here he says:
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."
This world and all of it's seemingly glorious riches are tempting to most everyone. At times, we may find ourselves seduced by some of them. Certainly, many false teachers seek after them, and they don't care who or what they destroy in the process. However, be certain of this: God will deal very severely with those who snatch away the hearts and souls of others, robbing them of eternal life!
Paul closes his comments with encouragement in (VV 11-12), where he says:
"But you, man of God, flee from all this, and persue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses."
For those who have professed their belief in Christ Jesus as the Son of God, there awaits unspeakable rewards in the heavenly realms! All things which are of this world are temporary and are fading away even now. The truest wealth in this life awaits the faithful in the next life...