By Nick Koutsobinas
Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington gave a spiritual speech at The Better Man Event in Orlando, Fla., last week.
According to The Christian Post, Washington, who spoke at the conference hosted by First Baptist Orlando on Saturday, said, “at 66, getting ready to be 67, having just buried my mother, I made a promise to her and to God, not just to do good the right way, but to honor my mother and my father by the way I live my life, the rest of my days on this Earth. I’m here to serve, to help, to provide.”
Washington opened the 30-minute sit-down discussion with an overarching theme that keeps appearing in the “Fences” actor’s life. “In every prayer,” Washington says, “all I hear is: ‘Feed my sheep.’ That’s what God wants me to do.”
So, “what’s that mean? Washington recounted. “What I found out in the last couple of years is there are all kinds of sheep. So that’s why I talk to experienced shepherds to help guide me.”
“The world has changed,” Washington added. “What is our role as a man? The John Wayne formula is not quite a fit right now. But strength, leadership, power, authority, guidance, patience are God’s gift to us as men. We have to cherish that, not abuse it.”
“What I played in the movies is not who I am; it’s what I played,” he emphasized. “I’m not going to sit or stand on any pedestal and tell you about what I had in mind for you or your soul. Because the fact of the matter is, in the whole 40-year process, I was struggling for my own soul.”
“[The Bible] says in the last days we’ll become lovers of ourselves. The number one photograph now is a selfie. So we all want to lead. We’re willing to do anything — ladies and young men — to be influential …”
But “fame is a monster,” he warned, “and we all have these ladders and battles, roads we have to walk in our given lives. Be you famous or whoever’s out there listening, we all have our individual challenges. It’s cliché [but] money, don’t make it better. It doesn’t. Fame just magnifies the problems and the opportunities.”
But if you want success, the New York native advised, then, “stay on your knees.”
“Watch me, but listen to God,” he continued. “I hope that the words in my mouth and the meditation of my heart are pleasing in God’s sight, but I’m human. I’m just like you. What I have will not keep me on this Earth for one more day. Share what you know, inspire who you can, seek advice. If you want to talk to … someone, talk to the one that can do something about it. Constantly develop those habits.”
Washington quoted things he learned from his spiritual mentor, Pastor A.R. Bernard, the senior pastor at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn.
“Fear is nothing but contaminated faith,” Washington said, calling back to Bernard’s earlier comment. “My chest is sagging right now because I haven’t been lifting weights. I’m losing weight first. So you got to lift them faith weights. You got to do your curls and your squats daily. You may get injured; you may want to throw them down, you may want to give up, you may never be big … you have to refill your bucket every night. You have to refill your bucket every morning.”