Academy Award-Winning Actor’s No. 1 Piece of Advice for College Grads: ‘Put. God. First!’

put-god-first

by Beth Callen | Top Right News

Award-winning actor Denzel Washington’s very first piece of advice Saturday for graduates of Dillard University consisted of just three words.

“Number one,” he said slowly and with emphasis. “Put. God. First!”

“Put God first in everything you do,” Washington continued to loud cheers. “Everything I have is by the grace of God. Understand that. It’s a gift.”

The actor, who received an honorary doctorate from the New Orleans’ school, told a story about his life 40 years earlier. He had a 1.7 grade point average and was sitting in his mother’s beauty parlor when a woman gave him “a prophecy.”

Washington said the woman told him he would “travel the world and speak to millions of people.” But he added that while her words came true, “the most important thing that stayed with me since is that I’ve been protected, I’ve been directed, I’ve been corrected. I’ve kept God in my life and it’s kept me humble.”

“I didn’t always stick with him, but he’s always stuck with me,” Washington said. “Stick with him in everything you do.”

During the rest of his brief commencement address — just over 10 minutes long — Washington urged graduates to “fail big” and take chances. But in regard to material things, he cautioned that “you will never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.”

“I pray that you put your slippers way under your bed tonight,” the actor noted toward the end of his time behind the podium, “so that when you wake up in the morning you have to get on your knees to reach them.

“And while you’re down there, say thank you. Thank you for grace, thank you for mercy, thank you for understanding, thank you for wisdom, thank you for parents, thank you for love, thank you for kindness, thank you for humility, thank you for peace, thank you for prosperity. Say thank you in advance for what’s already yours.”

“True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you, sent beforehand, to indicate that it’s yours already,” Washington said.

“Don’t just aspire to make a living,” he concluded, “aspire to make a difference.”

Here’s video of Washington’s inspiring speech:


  • Herman Vogel

    Well, looks like old Danzel won’t be getting anymore GOOD parts from now on…Hollywood don’t like God-People.

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    • Larry C Mason

      Clint Eastwood Could Give Him A STARING ROLE…

      • Herman Vogel

        Would the ONLY one in Hollyweird worth working for anyway. Disney USED to be worthwhile but with people like Miley and others they too have left the road in suitable entertainment.

  • ki-lee

    WOW… thank you for word of wisdom

  • Ed Woodson

    I’m not a big fan of Denzel Washington the Actor. I am, and have been, a big fan of Denzel Washington the Man.

    The time and support he gives to our military men and women garnered my deepest respect for him a long time back.

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  • enrique

    What a great speech and person,and a very good actor too.

  • Carol Martel

    That’s what the 1 st lady should of said Saturday Well said Mr. Washington

  • Curt Miles

    I really used to despise Denzel Washington and I really cant say why,lol. But, in the last 10 years or so, I have come to really respect him. In his movie, “The book of Eli”, at the end when he lay dying and reciting the Holy bible, I really felt that he wanted that message to get out. I think very highly of him and I hope he would forgive my earlier disliking of him.

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