The Words of the LeRoy Family

Pursuing Success -- A Principled Perspective -- Interview with Alain LeRoy

Jeremy Francis
August 2011

Alain LeRoy is a member of the Bay Area Family Church (Lovin' Life Ministries, San Francisco Bay Area)

Question: What is your philosophy on success? How did that philosophy form itself for you?

In the introduction of the Divine Principle, the first sentence says, "Everyone is struggling to attain happiness and overcome misfortune." We also learn that "joy is the purpose of life" and "a desire fulfilled is a tree of life" (Proverbs 13:12). Throughout Christian history, some people, believing that Jesus mostly came for the poor, have been seeking poverty and may have attained a certain degree of joy, but were they really happy? Were they really fulfilled? The main challenge [in life] is to make sure that our desire is focused on seeking goodness and Heaven's Will. Material wealth in itself is neither good nor evil; it is the motivation of the person seeking material wealth and what this person does with his or her wealth that really matters.

It has been said that success comes from doing the correct things, correctly, long enough. What are the correct things? The Bible tells us about the two great commandments, in short they are: Truly love God first, and truly love people. The Divine Principle also reminds us that we are composed of two aspects, the spiritual and the physical. We also now understand that the purpose for the coming of the Messiah is to bring full salvation, spiritually and physically. Therefore, I believe that today the way is open for men and women of faith to pursue professional success with God's blessings, while still striving for spiritual fulfillment in a life of faith.

Since the word success may actually be misunderstood, I would prefer to use the word blessing. I do believe that truly successful people are actually blessed. I view it as some kind of heavenly reward. Now this blessing must be used for a higher purpose, for the public good, or it could be taken away. Luke 12:48b says: "more will be demanded from the one to whom much has been entrusted," a quote which is also known as "to those whom much is given, much is expected." Material success, or material blessing, is therefore a responsibility, some kind of covenant or solemn agreement that this blessing will be used for Heaven's sake.

Question: Why is the pursuit of material wealth important?

My personal mission is to use my success and material wealth to effectively and efficiently witness about True Parents and establish God's Kingdom on Earth. We need to reach out to decision makers, politicians and other VIPs of this world, but how can we attract and inspire them if we are poor? We need to become substantial owners of an ideal society, not just on a spiritual/faith level, but on a level that speaks to the movers and shakers of the world.

If we can step out of our conceptual faith and realize that God and the spiritual world are real and substantial, that God created us as His children with a physical body, as a visible reflection of the invisible mind, that we can develop a sound and healthy mind, a sound and healthy body, and a sound and healthy environment for this body, then human beings can attain the ideal.

In his book Be In It to Win It: A Road Map to Spiritual, Emotional, and Financial Wholeness, Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell explains that God wants His children to experience blessed success, an abundant life full of purpose, value, and meaning. Pastor Caldwell's personal story is actually amazing. He was an investment banker when he heard God's call to become a minister. As a minister he developed a mega-church based on sound principles that transformed an entire community. He knew what was possible, had the skills, and was driven to build a successful church that had a positive impact on the largest possible number of people.

Question: In your life, how have you embodied your philosophy on success? Do you make a conscience effort to instill this philosophy in others? How?

On a personal level, I cannot say that I am really successful yet, but I am working on it; it is a work in progress. I was born into a wealthy family but, quite early on in my youth, I noticed that people coming from a more humble background seemed to be happier than my family. I always felt that I needed to find ways to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. As a Boy Scout I learned some great lessons on character, which became a foundation upon which, twenty-seven years ago, I could join the Unification Church and study the Divine Principle. Now as a father of three children, ages 12, 15 and 18, I am trying to set an example for my children. Yes, I am purpose driven and I am making conscious efforts, but no one can be forced to act against his or her will. I just hope to be able to set the right example.

Question: What would you say has influenced you the most to make you who you are today? What values became a part of your overall make up?

My grandparents, my parents, and the environment in which I grew up, including my Catholic faith and the Boy Scout experience, all those things truly influenced me. But nothing could influence me more than joining the Unification Church, studying the Divine Principle, and understanding that the Lord of the Second Coming was actually on the earth in my own lifetime! As a Christian, I never understood why most Christians seem to be so focused on trying to help the poor, as if only the poor people had problems and needed salvation. I knew that rich people might actually be more in need of the Gospel than poor people. Pride, arrogance, lust, and a long list of other sins need to be redeemed. Christ came for the rich as well as the poor. But how do you reach out to the wealthy if you are not wealthy yourself? Will they really listen to you? I knew it would be a challenging adventure, and I knew that I also wanted to help the less fortunate, but as Abraham Lincoln said, "You cannot truly help the poor by being poor yourself."

Another strong and undeniable influence is my cross-cultural marriage-blessing experience. My wife comes from Malaysia, a beautiful country, but a culture that is so different from France, my cultural background. Also her family experience and growing environment have been so different, and we both really had to make some much needed adjustments in our own personalities if we wanted this marriage-blessing to succeed. We have been blessed for over twenty-one years now. It has been an incredible, challenging but beautiful adventure.

Question: Some people question how an individual can have an affluent lifestyle when there is still so much inequality in the world. If we think of examples like Jesus and the Buddha, having wealth would seem at odds with a spiritual life. How do you view this apparent disconnect?

It is really a matter of priorities and motivation. Some people do not like Reverend Sun Myung Moon because they think he is so rich, has businesses all over the world and is very much involved in society. But what is Reverend Moon's motivation? Everything he does is for a greater cause, for world peace, world salvation. Again, you cannot help the poor by being poor yourself. People who give a lot are often praised. But to give you must first have. It is important to always remember the source of your blessings, to give honor to which honor is due. For me, God, Jesus, and True Parents are truly to be praised, loved and respected for what they have done. To save me, God has persevered for over six thousand years, enduring incredible misunderstanding. Being God, He could have destroyed His entire creation in an instant and started all over again. But because He is a truly loving parent and a God of principles, He persevered. When you look at wealth as a sign of external blessing, remembering where it comes from and using it for a good purpose with the right motivation, then there is no problem in seeking it. However, seeking internal wealth, rich relationships, and attending God through Christ with all your heart, soul, and mind must remain the priority.

Question: What advice would you give to others who are unsure about the merit of pursuing material wealth and consider it perhaps to be "ungodly" or selfish?

Each one of us is born with incredible talents and abilities. The parable of the talents reminds us of our responsibility. Jabez prayed to be blessed so he could be a blessing unto others (1 Chronicles 4:10). I think it is actually much more selfish to do nothing, and to say such things as Jesus was poor, came for the poor, and therefore I must also be poor. Maybe this was valid in what True Parents declared the age before the Coming of Heaven. But we have entered the era of building God's Kingdom on Earth substantially. Full salvation, both spiritual and physical, is now possible. I believe we need to be substantial owners of a new world, internally and externally, living by example and following the footsteps of the living Christ. 

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