They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening… (1 Chronicles 23:30)
Crediting God with all he has accomplished, the two-time Academy Award-winning actor encouraged the graduates of New Orleans’ Dillard University to “put God first” in all things. The Christian Examiner reports that the commencement address occurred earlier this month.
During his days as a young actor who was starting to ‘make it’, Mr. Denzel said to his mother, “Ma did you think this was going to happen that I’d be so big and I’d be able to take care of everybody.”
“Boy stop it right there, stop it right there, stop it right there,” she told him! “If you only knew how many people been praying for you!” Mr. Washington, a Pentecostal Christian believer, noted his mother’s account of “how many prayer groups she put together, how many prayer talks she gave, how many times she splashed me with holy water to save my sorry behind.”
Congratulating the graduates on their degrees and their families for supporting them along the way, his advice emphasized God as a priority.
“Number one: Put God first. Put God first in everything you do. Everything you think you see in me. Everything I’ve accomplished, everything thing you think I have – and I have a few things,” he laughed.
“Everything that I have is by the grace of God. Understand that. It’s a gift,” he said.
The actor advised the graduates to set goals for their dreams and embody gratitude but “don’t be afraid to fail big.”
As for money, the wealthy actor said, “It’s not how much you have, it’s what you do with it.”
“While you’re on your knees in the morning, say thank you. Say thank you in advance for what is already yours. True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you sent beforehand that it’s already yours… When you get it, reach back, pull someone else up. Each one, teach one. Don’t just aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference.”