Tough and Tender

Luke 22:35-39, “And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. (36) Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (37) For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. (38) And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough. (39) And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.”

My sister sells a product line called Melaleuca. Throughout the years, we have used some of the products, and have concluded that some worked well. Don’t worry! This is not a blog turned into a sales pitch, though I think I have heard them all! One such product was called Tough & Tender. This stuff seemed to clean all types of surfaces. It can be used on countertops, appliances, pots and pans, car interiors, computers, and even plants. Totally powerful in cleaning and disinfecting, yet does not harm the surface being cleaned, nor the sub-surface.

Our Savior was One Who knew how to be tough, but was ever so tender. This past week, my Pastor talked of the ingredients found in the servant of the Lord according to 2 Timothy 2. (You should order the series or book on our website if you missed this conference!) In my personal Devo time a few days after the conference, I was meditating on Luke 22 and noticed a connection in Luke 10.

Luke 10:1-6, “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. (2) Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. (3) Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. (4) Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. (5) And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. (6) And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.”

Jesus, as He’s approaching His own execution, His own murder, His own death, He’s quoting the Scriptures from memory. That indicates it’s a good thing for us to memorize the Scripture! He takes us to the Scripture to make sense of His own suffering. This is good for us to realize…if we want to be able to handle the suffering we must all at times endure, we need to follow His example!

In Luke 10, Jesus says to his disciples to pack nothing: no food, no money, no supplies, and no weapons. You’re like a lamb. You are to represent a Lamb. I am the Shepherd. You are the lamb – trust Me!

Twelve chapters later, He quotes Luke 10 by saying to them; when I sent you out as lambs with no money, no bag, no purse, to sandals, with virtually nothing, did you lack anything? The disciples said; we lacked nothing Master! Then He tells them, “But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”

Well, which is it, Jesus? Pack supplies or don’t pack supplies? Be ready or don’t be ready? Wear shoes or don’t wear shoes? Pack a weapon or don’t pack a weapon? Which is it? And it all depends on the mission. It depends on what you’re being sent to do. He says, “On one mission He says to take nothing, on another mission, He says to take everything.”

In Luke 10, Jesus is saying you need to be tender. And he’s saying in Luke 22, you need to be tough. Because in Luke 10, he says to be like a lamb. Can you think of anything more tender than that? Luke 22,He is saying be tough and ready; supplies, money, boots on the ground, bullets in the chamber, off to conflict.

May we recognize the mission God has for you today, and may we be prepared to be tough or tender or tough and tender. My prayer today is for those who are tender, that you would allow the Holy Spirit to help you be also tough and brave and bold; and for those others who are tough and brave and bold, my prayer is that you would allow His Spirit to help you to be tender and loving and merciful and kind. I think we can all say today, “Jesus, we’re not like You, but we thank that you can help us to become more like You today.”

There are people that God will allow to cross our paths today, and we are His ambassadors. May we not let the surface cause us to be more abrasive than needed to minister to them, nor should our actions ever be spiritually abusive to people who need the cleansing wave, not a causeless wreck.

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God led Ben and his family (wife, Wendy; and three children, Josh, Caleb, and Hannah) to Rockford, Illinois in 2003 to become the International Director of the fastest growing addiction ministry in the United States. Bro. Burks is now privileged to travel and train others how to help the addicted within their communities.

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