How much land does a man need? - A sermon for the tenth Sunday after Pentecost
The Russian writer Leo Tolstoy wrote a short story entitled ‘How Much land does a Man Need?’ It tells the story of a peasant named Pakhom who sees his greatest need as being to remedy a lack of land. Should he have enough land, he comments that he would not even fear the Devil himself.
His opportunity arises when the landowner of a nearby estate decides to sell her property and so he decides to buy forty acres of this land. To finance this, he has to sell a colt, half of his bee colony, hire out one of his sons and to borrow the rest from his brother in law. The purchase works out well. Thanks to a good harvest he is able to pay of all his debts.
End of story you might think but No! Soon he feels cramped and develops problems with his neighbours and so hearing of land beyond the Volga which is available at a decent price, he sells his land and purchases more land than he could ever have dreamt of owning.