Leon Fontaine - A Person of Integrity
Hey, everybody. It's so good to have you with me today. As you can see, I'm out in this gorgeous North Canada, where Kississing Lodge and I'm out here with my five boys and we're just hanging out fishing and having fun. And so I want to do a few messages that we can use to really encourage men. And so today, I want to just dive into this because I want to talk today about integrity, being faithful, being trusted.
You know, Jesus is talking about this and when you go into the Word, He says here in Luke. And it's really interesting, He says that I tell you, make friends for yourselves using worldly riches. It says mammon or wealth of the unrighteousness so that when those riches are gone, they fail, they run out. You will be welcomed in those homes that continue forever eternal dwellings God's presence. What Jesus is saying here is there is a very important reason that we need to be integrous, honor, trustworthy. We need to use money, use our giftedness. We need to live in such a way that we can develop friendships. And then it goes on to say, and this friendships when they go into eternity, they're going to know when you come to heaven. I'll give you an example.
When my dad, Cam Fontaine passed away and went to be with Jesus. He had spent his lifetime reaching out and winning people to Christ and the communities that he lived in. The men, the women that he had ministered to. And so when he went to be with Jesus, I'm sure the call went out. Cam Fontaine is coming home. And they lined up. One of the meanings of one of these words is like a receiving line. They lined up because they made heaven, because dad had developed friendships with them. He had shared his faith with them. They had watched him lived his life, how he treated money, his wife, family. Those around him, and because of that they became friends. They found out about his Jesus and they went to heaven when they passed away.
When we understand that everything you've been given, your gifts, your abilities. The very money you have the ability to make. It is crucial that we handle ourselves around this topic of being integrous. And it's just crucial because the world will not respect us. And so when we look at the Word of God, it says here that whoever... Oh, let me mention this. If you say, "Well, Leon, how do you know if someone is integrous? How do you know if someone is, you know, honorable"? Well, Jesus has a test and He goes on talking about it. Here's what He says. He says, "Whoever can be trusted with little can also be trusted with a lot, and whoever is dishonest with little things, will be dishonest with big things". He says, "If you cannot be trusted with worldly things, who's going to trust you with true riches"?
You know, I know that when we are honorable, integrous. When we are faithful what God has given us, God has plans for us on this earth to do incredible things for Him. He wants to promote us to places in our businesses, careers, finances, of such phenomenal success. That the whole purpose is to turn the hearts of the people around us towards Jesus. Even as He blesses us and raises us up. It's like John the Baptist, we must decrease so that He can increase. And when people tried to lie, cheats, steal, just to get ahead. That's just for themselves.
And so Jesus is telling us you learn. In fact, teach your children and staff and everyone around you that in the littlest things, be faithful, be trustful, be honest in the littlest things all the time and create that kind of a character. Because when you do, you'll find that it's easy to be honest in the big things. But if you are dishonest in the little things in your life and no one's taught you integrity or honor or they did, and you refused. It is so easy to cheat, lie, and steal on the big issues in life. You know, when you start talking about fathers and sons. When you start talking about living a life of purpose and meaning. This is a very crucial issue. Are you going to be integrous?
Here it says in the Bible that, "And if you cannot be trusted with things that belong to someone else, who will give you things of your own"? Did you know that when you finally become your own boss, or you run your own company, and you have been, you know, lying, cheating. Oh, it's just fudging or it's just a white lie. You'll find that when you do it while working for someone else, now that you own the company. Now that, you know, you are in charge. You'll find you'll destroy yourself even quicker.
When you're working for someone else who is integrous, you know, they can handle the odd little liar or cheater here or there. But as you become the guy who runs your own company, your own destiny. When you become married and you've got your own life. You're going to find you will destroy your life even quicker. There's one thing I could just say to the men who are watching today. Of course, it's for everyone. But out here I'm kind of hanging out with my sons and staff and people and we're talking about things that are crucial in life because it's pretty irritating we watch politicians today who get up there and they talk a good talk. They talk integrous. They're there for the people and then you begin to see all of these things expose where they're lying, stealing, robbing money from the country. And they just feel like whatever they can get away with, it's okay to do.
And I want you to know that you'll never have success for any length of time. When, you know, if you're going to be a businessperson. I was chatting at the one guy just the other day. You know, man, I'm bidding on contracts in our city. And he says, "As I put my bid in, I'm hearing about people who are undermining the process, bribing people, under the table, doing things to be awarded the contracts things that I won't do". And I said, "You know, don't lie. Don't steal. Don't do things that are wrong because people who do, although they have a little bit of success or even a lot of success for a little while. They will never have lifelong success. Something is going to come along that is going to destroy it for them".
But see, I want to be successful. I want to be strong for God right up till I go to be with Jesus, and I want my kids and my grandkids. I want it to be generational. You know, if a family use wisdom and you train and equip your kids right, not only can you see the blessing of the Lord stay in your lives, but it will be upon your kids and your kid's kid and all of those around you. You can literally start a movement where everyone in your circle. I've talked to so many men who stood strong when everyone around them was lying, cheating, and stealing. And it's like they prospered way beyond them. But then a little ways in the future, sometimes years, sometimes just weeks. They begin to crumble. Marriages crumbled, personal, finances crumbled. They weren't able to make it through storms that came up. And he ended up with everything that the others had cheated to get.
So I want to just encourage you today. That integrity, there's a reason for it. It's not just because you get a star in heaven and God is happy with it. It's because it's not the way to go. Even if you have to give up wealth. Even if you have to give up a promotion because you're not going to do what they want you to do. You're honoring God. You're creating something generational. And this is Jesus teaching and He is saying that if you will be trusted with the worldly riches and these little things. That there is a true riches that God will entrust you with. And I believe it's not a list that is, that's all there is. But I believe even moving in the things of God. God trusting you with His kingdom on this planet.
You know, the big difference between blessing and promotion. You know, you give your life to Christ everybody's blessed. And the blessing of the Lord has been commanded upon them because Jesus qualified them for the blessing. But the Bible says promotion comes from the Lord. It doesn't come from the north, the south, the east, the west. It says promotion comes from the Lord. And promotion, those are or were, you have this incredible jump. God takes you and He moves you to phenomenal places in Him that you could never do on your own. It's like He looked. He found you faithful and there's other parables in the Bible that teaches this, and so He promotes you to a place where His kingdom can really advance.
To pastors, leaders, businesspeople, dads, grandfathers, it is crucial that we become faithful and integrous in the little things. And when we do, you'll find that God can entrust us. I want you to know that in life, I'm in this for the long haul. I'm not in this just trying to succeed this year. It's not I want, you know, just fudge some numbers so that I can get ahead right now. No. I want to look ahead and say, "I've already got grandkids. I've already got kids, sons-in-law, daughter-in-law".
I know that people that are listening to me as their pastor. That the things that are going on around us in television and the schools and the things. That it can all crumble if we don't walk in integrity. And the world looks at us, looks at you as a believer and your greatest witness isn't that you're rich. The world can get rich. The greatest witness isn't that you can get ahead and get the position in government or in education. No! The greatest witness is, is your character. That you're going to stand strong. That people are impressed by character.
I remember a man telling me a story of how he worked in a company and the guy beside him was cheating and stealing and doing things to get ahead, backstabbing. And he did. He rose to the top. And he literally began to run the organization. But when he needed someone to be right beside him as a leader that would be honorable and integrous. Guess what he did, he promoted the very guy that he had stepped all over him to get to the top. And as he came up to the second in command, something down the road caused this man to lose the position and there he was.
Even people who are fudging numbers and backstabbing and doing whatever they can to get ahead. They're not faithful in little things. They know who is and they want to be around those who are. Another thing Jesus teaches us here is really interesting. No servant can serve two masters. The servant will hate one master and love the other, or will follow one master and refuse to follow the other. You cannot serve God and worldly riches, mammon.
You know what I've noticed about people who do begin to take advantage of other people. They begin to laugh at them. They call them goody two shoes. They feel like they're smarter than them because they know how to, you know, lie, cheat, steal, be dishonest. They're unfaithful in the little things. They know how to take advantage of someone. And those kinds of people will get around and brag about who they took advantage of as though, you know, we're stupid. Or as though, you know, we just don't have it all together. It's not that people who have character and honor and integrity don't know how. They can easily get out there and fight fire with fire and begin to backstab, lie, you know, be unfaithful in the little things. They just refused to.
But an interesting thing is that I have seen believers served God and then as they began to be unfaithful in little things and take advantage of people and get themselves ahead by taking advantage of people. They began to despise the very people they're taking advantage of as though they're stupid, as though they're foolish. And as they continue in their lives, they say, "Well, they'll hate God". But when you talk to them, they'll say, "Oh, I don't hate God". No, but in a way you do. The people who are following Him, serving Him. The principles of God that He asks us to follow, to be faithful, honorable, and integrous. You laugh at them.
In fact, what's interesting is the next verse says, "The Pharisees, who loved money, were listening to all these things and made fun of Jesus, ridiculed Him. He said to them, 'You make yourselves look good in front of people, but God knows what is really in your hearts. What is important to people is hateful. What is important to people is hateful in God's sight.'" So don't get caught up with people who only measure success and getting ahead and who's got the most money and who's got the contracts. Because if they have done it in a way where they have not been faithful to the principles and the teaching of Jesus, then they won't make it. They're going to fail. They're going to fall when the first storm's hit.
There's a story in the Bible that Jesus teaches us and He's talking about listening to the principles that He teaches. And He says, "Don't you call me Lord, Lord and then don't do what I say". He says, "Let me explain to you, Jesus says, what it is like. It's like two men who heard the Word. The first one builds his house on the rock". Which is Jesus. Which is the teachings of Jesus. Honor, integrity, faith in God. He builds his house which is a type of your life. He builds his life on the teachings of Jesus. And says the other guy doesn't. He builds his life, his house on the sand, and it looks fine. I mean, as the one guy is still digging his foundation down to the rock.
The other guy who doesn't care about the foundation, of integrity and honor, character. He's just building his house. He gets his house done way faster than this guy. In fact, he's got it all laughing. He's sitting in his rec room watching TV and the guy out here still laying the foundation. He's laughing at him going, "Come on, dude. Why you're so worried about"? You know the foundation. But when the storm blows, storms don't come to strengthen us. The storm destroyed the home with no foundation. The life without a foundation in the principles and the life of knowing Jesus Christ. It says was utterly destroyed. But it says the other life, the other home, it says couldn't be shaken.
When you give your life to Christ and you begin to follow Him. To follow Jesus means to follow His teachings, to do what He says. At the beginning of that teaching He says, "Don't call Me. Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and don't do what I say"? If you're a follower of Christ and you still think you're okay to lie, cheat, steal against people. You're just hurting yourself. Make a decision. Build your life. Build your home. Build your character on Jesus and the teachings of Jesus. Now, some people will tell me, "Well, Leon, when the storm blows, it just makes, storms make you stronger".
Now, that's not true. In fact, that's absolutely false. Storms don't make you stronger. Storms do test the strength that you've built. For example, when the storm came in, it didn't put the screws in deeper in either house. It didn't, you know, stick the shingles on better on either house. It destroys one and couldn't shake the other. And so we build into our lives. Now, when the storm's come, they'll test it. And that's good. If I'm out here in the middle of this beautiful, I decide to build myself a boat.
So I build the boat. And then I put it in the water. Everyday I put that boat in the water. The water is testing to see if it's float worthy. If I build a plane, and I got a hangar out here and I build my own plane. I put it together. Every time I fly that plane up into the air gravity is going to test it. Wind is going to test it. And so life needs to be built on the principles of Jesus because life is going to test it. You know last thought in this teaching is, to those of you who are leaders, who are just determined to follow Christ and building your life on integrity. You have to hire staff. You have to find people that are integrous.
I want to warn you right now that you can teach people skills and ability, but you cannot cause someone to be integrous. That is a heart issue. And so I want to challenge you that, you know, people can make mistakes and you can retrain them and equip them. But when you find people who are unfaithful in little things. They will do things they know they shouldn't have done. I'm not saying we don't give them another chance. I'm saying be very careful when you do, because if they are a person who they've established their own integrity and this is just who they are, and they think they're smart to get ahead. They just got caught.
You know, over the years once you deal with people in any of our organizations or in church who are really repentant. You have to always ask yourself. Are they repentant because they got caught? Or because they really want to change. And so as leaders, it's crucial that we understand. As you put teams together, put men and women together who have developed character and who have developed honor and integrity. They've chosen. I could lie but I refuse to lie. And the Bible says to their own hurt they'll tell the truth. It's an amazing thing when you're in the middle of a situation and you need someone to tell the truth and you bring that guy and he goes, "Oh, yes. That's my fault. I did that". And then faces the music. You kind of go, "Wow! That so rare today".
And so today, I want to just challenge you the teaching of Jesus here and in many other places is develop a life of being faithful even in the little things. Being faithful with your word. If you say something, do it. If you're telling others to live a certain way. You live that way. And as you do, your life causes you to be surrounded by men and women who will follow the same principles. You develop, well, I call it a culture of excellence. Be faithful in the little things. Surround yourself with people who are faithful in the little things and together you can do truly great things for God. God bless you. We'll see you next time.