Leo Tolstoy Archive

The Teaching of Christ Narrated for Children
Chapter 18

Written: 1908
Source: From RevoltLib.com
Transcription/Markup: Andy Carloff
Online Source: RevoltLib.com; 2021

Leo Tolstoy

And on another occasion, Jesus told people a parable about what human life is like. He said: “There was a rich man, and he had to leave his house. And before leaving, he called his servants and gave each of them by ten pounds of silver, and said: ‘Work, each of you, on what I gave you while I'm away.’ He said so and left. And when he left, the servants were free and lived as they wanted. And so, when this rich man had returned, he called his servants and ordered them to tell what each of them did with his silver. The first one came and said: ‘Here, master, out of your pound of silver I made 10.’ And the master told him: ‘Well done, good servant, you had been faithful in small thing, I will put you over a big; be equal to me in all my wealth.’ Another servant same and said, ‘Here, master, on your pound of silver I earned five.’ And the master said to him: ‘Well done, good servant, and you be equal with me on my entire property.’ And the third servant came and said: ‘Here lord, is your silver, I wrapped it in a handkerchief and saved it at my place, because I know what kind of man you are: you take where you didn’t put and gather where did not sow, and I was afraid of you.’ And the master said: ‘Stupid servant, I will judge you by your words. You are saying that out of fear of me you stored my silver and did not work on it? If you knew that I am strict and I take where I did not to put, so why didn't you do what I told you to do? If you would work on my silver, my property would grow, and you would fulfill what I told you. Now, you didn't do what I gave you the silver for, and therefore you can't own it.’ And the master ordered to take the silver from the one who had not worked on it, and to give it to those who worked the most. And then the servants said to the master: ‘Master, those ones have a lot already.’ And the master said: ‘Give it to those who worked a lot, because whoever takes care of what is entrusted to him receives more, but who does not - the remaining is taken away from him.’ The same is with people's lives,” said Jesus. “The rich master is the Father. The servants are people. The silver is the spirit of God in people. Just as the master does not work on his estate but orders every servant to work on what is given to him, so as the heavenly Father gave people his spirit so that they would increase it in themselves, so they would work on what was given to them. And rational people understand that the life of the spirit is given to them so that they would serve the will of the Father, and they increase the life of the spirit in themselves, and become the participants in the life of the Father. But foolish people are like the stupid servants, they are afraid of losing their corporeal lives and carry out only their own will, and not the will of the Father, and therefore they lose the true life. Such people are losing what the most precious is - the life of the spirit. And therefore, there is no more harmful human error than to recognize your life in the body but not in the spirit. You have to be in concert with the spirit of life. Who is not in concert with it, he is against it. We must serve the spirit of life, rather than serving our body. (Luke 19, 11-26; Matthew 25, 14-30; Luke 11, 23)

1) What did the master in the parable do before leaving, and what did his servants do when he was away?
2) What did the master do when he returned?
3) What does human life look like?
4) Who is the master, and who are the servants?
5) What do different people do and what does happen to them?