new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

Lessons from a cleg

There’s a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking stupid. Some time ago I trod that line. Well if I’m being honest I never made it to the sane side. I went fishing with a few friends, although for all I caught I mightn’t have bothered with the licence. I could have stood on the bank enjoying the sun and the scenery for the afternoon without paying the €10. Ah well, there’s a fine line…

Anyhow, as I was standing minding my own business, not troubling the fish, seeking to look to the casual passer-by like an accomplished fisherman, something lit on my neck. Whatever it was it inserted a hypodermic needle and started to siphon off a fair share of my lifeblood. As I went to take action its cousin assaulted my ankle – thus giving me two large welts for the price of one. Clegs, horseflies, I don’t know what you call them, but they’re a real pain in the neck, or wherever they land. And wherever they bite stays itchy for days; the slightest touch sets it off again.

But if you have the patience you can see a sight that will bring a pleasurable sense of revenge. Apparently (at least 3 reputable farmers assured me of this) if you let a cleg suck for long enough, it will keep on going until it bursts! “Brilliant,” I thought, “what a stupid insect!”

Yet how many of us try to suck the pleasures out of this life, only for it to backfire on us for all eternity.

In prophetic-like fashion, with words that seem startlingly 2009AD and not 29AD, Jesus once told a story about a rich cleg—sorry—man. This man said to himself after a prosperous year, “I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’”

Just like the cleg inserting his needle and sucking you dry. And like you watching him expand until breaking point, God said, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12:18-20)

Are we really here just to get all we can out of life? Remember the cleg.

Mark Loughridge is the minister of Milford Reformed Presbyterian Church. He can be contacted on 074 9123961 or You can read more or listen online at