Bishop Rob Wright For People Album
For People

About the episode

Ever wondered how grace can act as the very grit that sustains us through life’s toughest storms? Grace is a tangible force that builds and strengthens communities, encouraging us to live fully in faith. In a world often divided by politics and ideology, how do we extend grace and kindness to those who anger or baffle us?

In this episode, Melissa and Bishop Wright have a conversation about the grace of God, having a Kingdom perspective, and how grace brings forth resolve in life’s hardest seasons. Listen in for the full conversation.

Before listening, read For Faith.


Bishop Wright: 0:00
Following Jesus is not a club and it’s not a clique, right, it’s an all-consuming way to live. We have been included in Jesus’s friend-making campaign, not because we’re lovely, but because of grace right. And so who are we to deny grace with others? It is true, however, that work has to be done to enlarge our hearts. I say to people all the time you are, you know, Republican or Democrat does not define entirely who you are.

Melissa: 0:30
This is For People with Bishop Rob Wright. Welcome to For People with Bishop Rob Wright. I’m Melissa Rau and this is a conversation inspired by For Faith, a weekly devotion sent out every Friday. You can find a link to this week’s devotion and a link to subscribe in the episode’s description. Hey, bishop.

Bishop Wright: 0:55

Melissa: 0:56
You named your devotion for this week, Grace Grit. Yeah, it’s based off 2 Corinthians 4, verses 13 through 5, verse 1. And it’s all about wait for it. Grace and grit.

Bishop Wright: 1:11
Grace and grit.

Melissa: 1:13
So, before we get into the passage, I’m really hoping you might define grit for us, especially as it pertains to the context of this passage and what grit means for our lives today.

Bishop Wright: 1:24
So we’re talking about resolve, we’re talking about courage, you’re talking about strength, and that’s what St. Paul is commending. He’s asking us to watch how grace operates in our lives, that it increases thankfulness among us, but also it helps us to not lose heart. That’s the bottom line.

Melissa: 1:50
Bishop, my favorite definition of grace is a free gift from God and by extension others, of love and mercy that is neither earned or deserved. Would you nuance that any further for us?

Bishop Wright: 2:03
I can, I mean, I think that just that stands on its own. Don’t gild the lily right. I mean undeserved, unmerited favor. Can’t earn it, can’t lose it, a free gift from God.

Melissa: 2:16
Yeah. So my favorite line from this second Corinthians passage, like the whole thing together, is indeed everything is for your sake, so that grace, when it has extended to more and more people, may increase. Thanksgiving to the glory of God.

Bishop Wright: 2:33

Melissa: 2:34
And so my question is you know talking about grit and grace together, you know what’s our role in extending grace to more and more people, and what does that look like?

Bishop Wright: 2:46
Yeah, I mean, I think the best thing that we can do for one another is to commend an experience, an experience that changes us. I think that’s what we mean by sharing as it increases among more and more people. I think you and I might be able to look back at certain circumstances, certain intersections, when we wonder to ourselves how did I make it? You know, and and that it was. It was more than my hard work, it was more than the witticisms that mom and dad or mentors, beloved mentors, passed on to us. There was something more to the moment moment and we realize that somehow all the things that we’ve been through, and the ups, the downs et cetera, have accrued to our benefit, have been positive to us, and that there is something more than the specific parts of that. That is operative. That’s what Paul is saying. And so when we realize that all of it is sort of worked together for our good, we look back and we say God’s grace was at work and it deepens gratitude in us and I think that’s the best building block for community right, that we are people who come together and who can share, that we’ve experienced the goodness of God through myriad circumstances, in myriad ways, and that’s our story to tell. So, as I was telling a group not long ago, why would you hoard those good experiences in your life? Some people are awfully coy about sharing the grace of God that they’ve experienced, that has been extended to them. It’s like we’re being hoarders. Why should we hoard those things? Right, we should share those things. And that’s Paul saying is that’s a building block of community, community built on each of us experience, the fact that God has been good to us. And you know, paul then goes on from there and that’s the exciting part for me is that, yeah, it’s the building block of community. Grace has been shared with me. I like to sit down and talk to you. How’s Grace been shared with you? You know, I mean it just it multiplies. You know what is between us by sharing what has happened among us.

Bishop Wright: 5:01
And then, and then Paul says now, so we don’t lose heart, and that’s a bit of a left turn, but what I think he’s saying is that so remember all the ways in which grace is benefiting you that you couldn’t imagine previously, and realize that that is sort of supposed to be something firm for you to stand on, so we don’t lose heart.

Bishop Wright: 5:26
And so that’s where it gets into grace as grit. We have these great, wonderful definitions of grace, and they can be a bit ethereal, but grace accruing and manifesting itself as grit. Now we’re talking about resolve and strength. Now we’re talking about something day to day that helps me to sort of not be blown around, tossed to and fro, as Paul will say in another place. Now I’m anchored to something and I can push forward. In another place, paul says I can do all things right. So one of the reasons I can do all things is not because I’m fantastic, as much as I might want to be seduced to think that I’m fantastic. It is God’s grace and work in me, allowing me to weather storms and not succumb to despair.

Melissa: 6:41
Bishop, your last line was very punny.

Bishop Wright: 6:44
Yes. A little cheeky.

Melissa: 6:47
I love it. You said I can thrive wherever I’m planted, no matter the storm, because of a guaranteed supply of sunshine.

Bishop Wright: 6:56

Melissa: 6:59
That’s a good one. That’s right. You want to say something about how that sunshine is seen and felt?

Bishop Wright: 7:05
Well, you know, let’s let Paul have all the fun, right, I mean? So it’s Paul who’s working this through, and it’s interesting to me if you read all of his letters. I mean Paul is able, with all of the persecution he’s been through, the ups, the downs, the financial insecurity, the food insecurity, all of that, his legal troubles, physical abuse and punishment it is amazing that he doesn’t lose heart. I mean he even counsels us to not grow weary in well-doing. So Paul’s fastened to something. In other words, he’s saying wherever I’m at you know, I love that other line, you know, in the epistle I have been abound and I have been abase. I know how to be content in the state therewith for those who like the old school language but basically, wherever you throw me because of this God in me, I’ll be just fine. I know how to make my way. That’s grit.

Bishop Wright: 8:00
You know, what I love about this text also is that we have grit and grace. All that is amplified, magnified in us, because we are supposed to be understanding that whatever we’re going through does not compare to what we will see, our constant state in that time when we are in the near and dear company of God. So what I’m going through is legitimate. It’s hard, it can be a gut punch, it’s all real. There’s no delegitimizing pain and suffering in Paul. But what he’s saying is can you zoom out in the midst of that and recognize that this is momentary and is not really going to be, even compared to the goodness that comes when we’re in the near and dear presence, it sounds like pie in the sky by and by, but it’s not really. It’s not really. It is. He’s asking us to have a heavenly perspective, even though we find ourselves in the midst of earthly troubles.

Melissa: 9:07
Yeah Well, and you know, earlier before the break you were talking. And you know earlier before the break you were talking and you know the parable of the unjust steward. Sure, like that came to mind. Because it’s one thing to have grit for us and to accept all of God’s grace for us when we’re in the moment, when we’re at our lowest and we can have hope, and yet that grit part, I think is really it’s necessary for us to take that grace and be able to share it with others.

Bishop Wright: 9:36
To be able to share it, because you have to live it right. You can’t talk about a vacation you don’t take right. You know you can’t commend a meal you haven’t had. So you know there is something here that is amazing, and that is is that, as you and I persevere, as you and I keep our hope fixed on Jesus, as you and I understand that the suffering that we’re experiencing is real and yet we are not abandoned. In the suffering, you know, we increase in character, as scripture says, we increase in resolve and strength and we understand that we have a resource, and that’s what we begin to commend to people.

Bishop Wright: 10:13
What people need are firsthand witnesses. People don’t need folks full of religious platitudes. People need someone who has a firsthand experience saying this is how I made it through. You know I’ve said this before and this is why you know. You know I’ve said this before and this is why you know the Alcoholics Anonymous community is so important.

Bishop Wright: 10:34
These are people who are not engaged in just intellectual assent to ideas. These are people who know exactly what it feels like to be tempted to stumble, to get up, to make good on their covenant with themselves and with other folks, and these are the people who are really best equipped to then turn around to others and say you can do it. That’s all Paul’s commending here, that he’s saying that we can encourage one another, but also that if you will endeavor to sort of do this, grit, grace life with God, that it’s worth it. And that’s the other part of our witness that we get to say to each other it’s worth it. It’s worth it because we get to access some part of God that you can’t know sitting just in church on Sunday morning. You get to know God as your fellow traveler, as companion, as the person you can tell your truth to, as the person who hears you, as the person who can pull together all the aspects of who you are and somehow make them more than you ever thought or imagined.

Melissa: 11:44
Okay, so where’s the next part of that then? How might I best? Because the grace grit that I have, because, um, I know that we do not lose heart, we uh, that’s a choice but because of the grace that I experience from god and through others, oftentimes, yes, exactly I’m being I think I’m being lifted up to do something.

Melissa: 12:09
How might I best see in others when they might need a pick me up? Do we have, like gosh, what’s the? We’re going to have to go back. Hold on, bishop. Is there a way for us to have more of an x-ray vision into other people’s heart so that when we see that they need a pick meme-up, that we can step up and step in? Is there a way to do that or not?

Bishop Wright: 12:37
Well, yeah, I don’t know, that’s funny, an x-ray vision, I mean. I think that you know. I think what Paul is also assuming is that you and I are in close relationship with each other, relationship with each other, and so that you know something about my story and you know something about, you know, the resources I’ve had to apply and rely on as I’ve made my way. So there is the encouragement that comes from just you and I standing up and being and showing up, and that we do that in full view of other people. And then I think Paul is probably assuming that we know something about one another’s pinch points and tough intersections. We’re in such close proximity. He’s assuming community here. He’s assuming a certain amount of intimacy, he’s assuming a certain amount of vulnerability here that you or I are in some sort of connection and that you and I know also, from having traveled some of these roads, you know we have a deep knowledge of right now. You know prophecy that wonderful definition is not what’s happening tomorrow and around the corner. It’s seeing so deeply into now. You know what’s going on now and so I think, as we’re in relationship to one another, we can make, you know, not some assumptions. Assumptions can be a bit dangerous. But we can have some data where we can be curious with people, gently curious with people Said hey, you know, I see you every day. I’m just wondering how are you doing? I mean, and it’s amazing, it’s true If communication is 70% nonverbal, perhaps there’s something in the way that we posture ourselves, we present ourselves, that someone might hear that we are a reliable and trustworthy group, listening partner and might be able to then create a moment.

Bishop Wright: 14:17
I think the other thing that we can do is to be proactive, right, and so you know, for those of us who are up to it, what would it be like if you and I prayed even right now. Say, god, here I am. You know I’ve been through ups and downs with you, god, and you know I’ve come out with an enlarged sense of gratitude. I know what it means to have grace and grit, and so, lord, help me to see moments when I’m with folks where I can share and be an encouragement and be a rock for other people. We can also make that prayer too. We can just offer ourselves to God, and maybe that would help our vision and our listening as we encounter one another.

Bishop Wright: 15:01
But this is happening, this kind of stuff we’re talking about. It’s not magical. It’s happening every day in offices, it’s happening every day on the golf course, it’s happening in meetings, before meetings and after meetings. People are connecting with one another. People are sensing because we are made for each other. We’re sensing our needs, we’re sensing our deficits one to the other and we’re sharing. We’re talking about it in a particular you know, with a particular lexicon as Christians, but people are lending their strength to one another all along right. So we’re lending our strength, particularly not only just because we’re being nice or we want to be good people, but also to the glory of God. We’re making that one additional move. We’re saying I’m here, I have strength to lend, I have a journey to share, and also we’re saying God has been good to me and I know that there’s enough God out there for whatever you’re going through. And that’s sort of the best part of the grit piece is that whatever we’re facing, god is more than that, and that’s where our real grit comes from.

Melissa: 16:04
Yes, and we are living in exceptionally divisive times and we’re in an election cycle for crying out loud, and so I think it’s somewhat easier to show up to people who we are in community with, and it’s a lot harder to extend that non-deserving grace to people who we just are baffled by. I can’t help but wonder if that grit, that sense of gratitude, might be the thing that we need in order to extend grace to the people. Bishop who piss us off.

Bishop Wright: 16:41
Yeah Well, goodwill, good cheer, all of that I mean. If the church and followers of Jesus are only people who are going to share goodness and mercy, love and kindness with those who think like them, then we’ve made a mockery of Jesus’s ministry, right, and we don’t find our inheritance with those who go before us in that regard. You know, following Jesus is not a club and it’s not a clique, right, it’s an all-consuming way to live. We have been included in Jesus’s friend-making campaign, not because we’re lovely, because of grace, right, and so who are we to deny grace with others? It is true, however, that work has to be done to enlarge our hearts, and so I say to people all the time you are, you know, republican or Democrat does not define entirely who you are, right, those are temporal things. There’s no Republican and Democratic part of heaven, right, this is a dress rehearsal right now for life eternal. And so you know, yeah, we disagree. Yes, it’s hard, yes, it can be bone jarring from time to time, but ultimately, you’re my sibling, what the world needs, frankly speaking, are people who have this kingdom perspective, right, or you know, this God commonwealth perspective.

Bishop Wright: 18:04
You know, james Baldwin, as I’ve said before, james Baldwin says you know, the world is held together by those people, right? There is enough love and grace in some of the people in the world that helps to hold and cover a multitude of sinfulness in the world. That helps to hold and cover a multitude of sinfulness in the world. And so why wouldn’t you want to be one of those people? I mean, we can be the Jesus is my lucky rabbit foot people if we want. But you know what the hell is that right? The calling is deeper and better than that. The calling is to be people who change the times, who don’t simply just comment on the times. Right, and it sounds, you know, I know it may sound like maybe even ridiculous to some people, or at least idealistic, perhaps naive, but when we who would follow Jesus in these ways get down to those intersections and we find a way through imagination, through grace, through grit, through kindness, to make a difference, that wins the day. Yeah, we don’t win every day, but ultimately we are winning when we do that kind of work. It happens in family systems, it happens in most difficult times, when the people who, because of Jesus right, just want to find that extra gear right, that second wind to exert kindness and you know, bless those who curse them, as Jesus said, pray for those who despitefully use.

Bishop Wright: 19:23
I still believe in that right, and I’ve seen it work too many times, right? So is the world perfect? No, is there a sort of, is there a callous counterfeit community all around us? Yes, are the politics all around us? Yes, are the politics caustic? Certainly, just turn on the news, right, and so do we give up? No, st Paul says we do not lose heart because we are fastened to something, that when all the pundits are done, when all the politicians are done, when all the foolishness is done, that one thing will be standing still. That’s what we believe. That is the heart of the Christian faith. We believe that God is bigger and better than anything that we’re facing that is temporal.

Bishop Wright: 20:09
And so we’ve got to ask ourselves hard questions when do you want to put all your money? Where do you want to put your whole self? Pick a side, pick today, right. So we’re going to go with God, right, and this is why the crucifixion of Jesus is so important. You know, good Friday looked like a miserable loss. It looks like all the empire powers had won. You know, everything is bad at one right, and then, yet we have this fledgling little hope that three days later, god made an exception to the rules. And so you know, ultimately, we’re betting on that, and so I want to encourage people. Right, if you’re catching hell, I understand, I see you, I know it personally, I know what it’s like, and right, that’s what we have to offer to each other. I hear you, and right, yeah, that’s the witness.

Melissa: 21:05
Bishop, thank you, and thank you for listening to For People. You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook at Bishop Rob Wright. Please subscribe, leave a review and we’ll be back with you next week.