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Posted on September 16, 2015 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)


I suppose that the lowly leech is one of the most despised of all the animals created by God! I remember that long ago I saw a movie where a character was wading at night through a swampy area, when he suddenly realized that some ugly little creatures were attached to his body, sucking his blood. Indeed, leeches are blood suckers! And that is the very reason why for centuries they valued by medical doctors. For many years, medical leeches could be found in every apothecary because doctors believed that “bleeding” the patient was often an important part of treatment. So the doctor would apply a leech or two in order to rid the patient of the “bad blood.” When there were no leeches, the doctor had a special tool with which he could make the cuts that were necessary to bleed the patient. In fact, it is very likely that our first president, George Washington, would have survived the ailment that took his life, if the doctors had not “bled” him.


In recent years, the leech has made an unexpected comeback, as doctors have learned that when a leech attaches itself to an animal to get nourishment, it secretes something into the wound that thins the blood. Doctors have recently learned that leeches could indeed be useful with some illnesses, and on January 23, 2011, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration approved their use as medical devices.


Several hundred years before Christ, the wise man Agur, the son of Jakeh, coined a proverb based on the leech. He wrote, “The leech has two daughters,” both named “Give.” (Proverbs 30:15). These “daughters” of the leech share the chief characteristic of their father – neither will ever say “Enough.” Indeed, their appetite will never be satisfied!


This proverb speaks against man’s inability to be content with what he has, a prevalent human attitude that one can never possess enough of this world’s riches. Jesus echoed this bit of ancient wisdom when He said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19). The Lord’s emphasis, however, was not on the amount of wealth that one might “store up,” but on the emphasis that one gives to such things. He was warning his disciples that (1) earthly treasures cannot be guaranteed against loss (6:20), and that (2) those who strive for material wealth have their hearts in the wrong place (6:21).


Another great lesson taught by this proverb is that we should be less interested in getting stuff and more interested in sharing with others. The “daughters” of the leech are aptly named, for the only word in their vocabulary is “Give!” But the leech’s daughters are interested not in giving to others, but in other people giving to them!


Christians should never be characterized by greed or stinginess. Jesus taught powerful lessons on this subject. The rich man in Christ’s parable was stingy (Luke 16:19-31). He had great wealth, but shared none of it with those who were less fortunate than he. Every day, as he left his mansion, he seemed not even to notice poor Lazarus as he lay near the gate. He could have been a blessing to this man, but chose not to be. And I think of Joseph, of Cyprus, who because of his benevolent spirit was aptly nick-named “Barnabas,” which means “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36-37). Luke later records that Barnabas “was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith,” adding that through him “considerable numbers were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:24). Then, there was also the wonderful Christian lady, Tabitha, who was better known as Dorcas, of whom Luke wrote, “This woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did” (Acts 9:36).


During what he thought might be his final visit with the elders of the church of Ephesus, Paul spoke these words: “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:33-35). Finally, Paul shares with us a virtue that he “learned” during his lifetime, a lesson that the “daughters of the leech” could never appreciate, that of being able to be content. “I have learned,” says Paul, “to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Philippians 4:11).


Let us also learn to “be content” in every circumstance of life, striving to be givers, instead of getters. And “the God peace will be with” us (Philippians 4:9).


 Donald R. Taylor