Who is Going to Take the First Step?

Walking Up Steps

Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger; by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech and the power of God.

2 Corinthians 6:2-7

The choice to be an encourager is just that: a choice. We know that encouragement can lead to more safety, vulnerability, and authenticity in relationships. These things make us better people, better friends, and ultimately, better Christians.

We need more encouraging, more vulnerability, and more authenticity in our society. No, we’re not going to have a deep and vulnerable relationship with every person we meet. But there are sadly a lot of people who do not have even one authentic relationship, and that needs to change.

We all know the saying, “It takes two to tango.” Well, it takes two to be vulnerable. In our relationship with Christ, He’s already made the first move—He died for us. What is more vulnerable than that? Are we ready to make the second move?

And in our relationships, it always takes one person going first when it comes to showing vulnerability. It is easier to take that step when another person commits to go second. So, are you willing to take the first step? Are you willing to commit to taking the second step if someone else goes first?

One of my favorite songs is “If Everyone Cared” by the group Nickelback. Allow me to share some of the lyrics:

And as we lie, beneath the stars,
We realize how small we are,
If they could love, like you and me,
Imagine what the world could be?

If everyone cared and nobody cried,
If everyone loved and nobody lied,
If everyone shared and swallowed their pride,
Then we’d see the day when nobody died.

In relation to God, we are indeed pretty small. If the Almighty God was vulnerable for us, why can’t we be vulnerable to Him? If He took the first step, why can’t we take the second? Imagine what the world would be like if everyone had an authentic relationship with Christ? And if everyone had at least one or two authentic relationships with someone else (not 10 or 20, just one or two), so that everyone was caring and everyone was cared for, so that everyone was sharing and swallowing their pride, well, no one would die sad and alone or without Christ. The “day when nobody died” is a vision of heaven. And as Christians, the path to heaven is love, caring, vulnerability, and authenticity with Christ and with each other. And encouragement plays a large role in that journey.

There are plenty of people who feel “dead” in this life. If we are honest, all of us have days like this. A little bit of encouragement can lift us up when we feel “dead” and make us feel “alive” again. Encouragement brings vitality into relationships and puts a spring in our steps. Encouragement precedes vulnerability or trust in any relationship. So, take a chance and encourage first. And if someone makes the first step and encourages you, make the second step and encourage them as well.

Lord, thank You for the gift of my life. Thank You for my joys and thank You even for my struggles. Thank You that I have another day of life to learn, to grow, to love and to hope. Help me build an authentic relationship with You. Help me build authentic relationships with others. Help me to be an authentic person. Fill me with joy and with hope and with the desire to bring joy and hope to others. Bring me to the day when nobody will die, to salvation in Your heavenly Kingdom. Amen.

Be bold in taking the first step in encouraging others. Don’t be afraid to take the second step and encourage someone in return if someone has taken the first one to encourage you first.

+Fr. Stavros


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced multiple books, you can view here:


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