Are You All In?


Sunset Hikers

As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, Who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.

Several years ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Team had a marketing campaign, entitled “All In.” All around the Tampa Bay area, there were billboards which read “Tampa Bay Lightning: We’re All In!” The purpose of the campaign was to get fans to go to the games, and tune in to the broadcasts. The ownership of the team was going “all in” by signing big-name players to exorbitant contracts, and upgrading the stadium where the team was playing. They wanted the fans to know this and to reciprocate in supporting the team. It worked. Games started selling out, people all over town could be seen wearing Lighting apparel, and the team won the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021.

Can you imagine what would have happened if the billboards had read “Tampa Bay Lighting: We’re Half-In!” People would have laughed at that, and thought, “This organization is a joke. How am I going to go all-in on a team whose ownership and players are half-in?” It just wouldn’t work.

It’s hard to think of anything worthwhile in life that we don’t go all in on. If we decided to go “half-in” on a relationship, it probably won’t work. If we are half-in at a job, we probably won’t be able to keep it. If we go to class half the time, we’re not going to pass the class. If we are truthful only half the time, we’d probably be considered a liar. And so on…

The study has been on encouragement, and as we come to the end of it, we are encouraged to go all in when it comes to encouraging others. This means that we are consistent and lead with encouragement. It means that we learn to see the best in people. It means that we help people be the best version of themselves.

We have not only talked about how we can best encourage other people. We’ve encouraged you to the best version of who God created you to be. In the Orthodox Church, which I have been privileged to serve as a priest for many years, in our services, there is a petition that invites us to “commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.” (The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, translated by Holy Cross Seminary, 1985). It doesn’t invite us to commit half our lives to Christ, but our whole lives. Anything worth doing is worth doing fully. And this applies to encouragement to follow Christ, encouraging others to do so, and also being an encourager of others in all the positive aspects of their lives.

I remember my mom used to tell us, “If you lie one percent of the time, you are a liar.” I suppose the same could be said that “if you discourage one percent of the time, you are a discourager.” Because when it comes to being truthful, we’ve got to be truthful all the time, in order to be considered a truth teller. And when it comes to encouragement, we’ve got to be encouraging all the time in order to be considered an encourager.

“I’m half-in on encouragement” does not make one an encourager. We need to go all-in when it comes to encouragement. As with just about everything else in life, we can all improve when it comes to being a friend, being a student, being a spouse, being a parent, at our jobs, and in being a Christians. The desire for improvement and going all in go hand in hand. We can all stand to improve as encouragers. And our desire to improve and going all in on encouragement go hand in hand.

Lord, thank You for the energy You give me each day, to get out of bed, and to go and do the things I do in my life. Give me the energy and the consistency to be a good encourager, and the desire to make encouragement part of my daily life.

Help me to go all in on encouragement, and also on so many other things—love, forgiveness, patience, service, generosity — and the many other things that will bring me closer to You and closer to others. Amen.

Are you all-in on encouragement?

+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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