Surgical Spirit: The Discarded Tract

Ruth Eardley is a GP and member of Affinity partner Little Hill Church, Leicester. She writes a regular piece for her church entitled 'Surgical Spirit'. We have been given permission to reproduce them. This is her latest contribution:

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

Here, in Leicestershire, we have our annual historic “Hallaton Hare Pie and Bottle Kicking” contest on Easter Monday. Up in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, thousands flock to a similar event on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. It’s a chaotic “football” match, a free-for-all described as a “mediaeval mass rugby match with very few rules”.

In 2019, as is their custom, a local church wrote a little tract and spent a couple of hours handing it out to the spectators. Everyone had to stand well back to avoid being trampled! The tract made an (admittedly tenuous) link between football and the gospel and advertised their church meetings. Out of three thousand tracts distributed nobody responded. Nobody, that is, except for one lady who picked up a card from the ground, read it and turned up at the Christianity Explored course.

She picked up litter. She picked up something that had been dropped on the floor – something dirty, trodden underfoot, something that was waiting for the road-sweeper to take to the tip in a black bin bag. But God used that litter.

Do you think you are rubbish? Are you aware of your smallness? Your sin? Your insignificance? Maybe you haven’t had the opportunity to reach your full potential? Struggling in your marriage or family? Stressed through work or unemployment? Discarded by friends? Feeling trampled?

Be encouraged: God chooses the weak, the foolish, the despised and the “things that are not”. You are never on the scrap heap with God. In fact, your weakness may be just what he is planning to use to bless somebody else.


Heavenly Father, pity me in my weakness and my folly. I sometimes despair of myself and think I will never amount to anything useful in your kingdom. Thank you that the power of Christ is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and that you can still use me, even me. “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).


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