Authentic Brotherhood – Steven Souza

April 6, 2017

I’m really excited for this year. We have an amazing group of guys—a strong core group of teammates and some great new additions. One thing that I really love about my teammates is their authenticity. They are true to who they are, not pretending to be someone they are not. It’s so much fun to play alongside these men who are honest, humble, and dedicated to their team.


I love listening to my teammates. Each one of them has a unique and interesting story to tell. For those of us who have been on the team for a while now, we’re really starting to understand each other and build a family-like atmosphere. This type of community really helps make the season not seem so monotonous. When you’re able to play in a brotherhood like this, you see a winning atmosphere being created. That’s what we have with the Rays now—a group of very talented men who have also become authentically good teammates.


We have a team Bible study that meets once a week which has really blown up. There’s a giant group of guys that come and it’s been really fun to grow in community and knowledge of the Lord together. The relationships that we’ve been able to create with each other have been awesome, though there’s only so close you can get with a large group of guys. But there are two guys who I’ve really been able to really go deeper with. Alex Cobb and Chase Whitley have become two of my best friends and men with whom I have been able to establish solid accountability.


Alex, Chase, and I have found a community with each other where we can challenge, encourage, and grow closer to God together. The three of us are able to really energize and uplift one another; within this brotherhood we can really feel the presence and blessing of the Lord. Desiring to go deeper with each other in our faith and friendship, we’ve committed to meeting daily with each other, whether over breakfast or by our lockers, to check in and share what’s on our hearts.


I’ve seen incredible encouragement and growth in my own life come as a result of these men’s fellowship. I remember last year Chase and Alex approached me one day with something that they had observed in my life—something that was manifesting itself on the field. I didn’t have wrong intentions in my heart, but I was coming across in a way that demonstrated less-than-Christlike behavior. Out of genuine care and concern for me, they pointed out to me the way that my demeanor was portrayed in certain situations on the field and encouraged me to be more careful about how I act so that I can be a good light for Christ. I immediately recognized what they were saying and was surprised at how I had not been able to see this. So thankful for their desire to lead me on a good path, I began to work on paying closer attention to my responses and actions during the game.


Being able to give and receive this type of instruction only comes from the fact that we trust and love each other. Having spent time together—getting to know and care for each other—has allowed us to open up to freely give and receive criticism. Alex and Chase approached me that day because they love me and want the best for me, and I would do the same for them in a heartbeat. This type of daily community and faithful accountability is what Jesus calls us to find in our brothers and sisters.


“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” —Ecclesiastes 4:9-12


—Steven Souza


Steven Souza is a regular contributor of The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.


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