The Trouble Tree

A preacher told of hiring a carpenter to restore an old farm house. On the first day when the carpenter was to report for work, he was an hour late. His tardiness, he said, was because he found that his electric saw was not working, and in addition, he had found a flat tire on his old truck.

Nevertheless, he put in a full day’s work. When finished; he got in his aged truck and turned the key in the ignition only to find that the stubborn vehicle refused to start.

Seeing the problem, the preacher offered to take the carpenter home and the tradesman got in the preacher’s car. They engaged in friendly conversation on the way and soon arrived at the man’s home. Before exiting the car, the carpenter invited the preacher in to meet his family. They both got out and started toward the front entrance.

As they walked by a tree in the yard, the carpenter stopped for a second and touched the tips of several branches of the tree without comment. Entering the home, the smiling carpenter kissed his wife and hugged his two small children who had joyfully wrapped them­selves about his legs. It was obvious that the family was close and quite happy.

After visiting awhile, the preacher made his way to his car with the carpenter accompanying him. As they passed by the tree again, the preacher said that he had noticed the tradesman had touched several branches of the tree with both hands when they had passed by earlier. “Why did you do that?,” asked the curious preacher.

“Oh,” said the carpenter, “that’s my trouble tree. I know can’t help having trouble but I try to keep trouble out of my house as much as I can. When I come home each day, I touch the branches of the tree and symbolically leave my troubles on the tree. In the morning, I pick them up again. But, strangely, it always seems that when I am ready to deal with my troubles in the morning, I don’t seem to have as many as I had the evening before.”

Writing about this to his church members, the preacher suggested that Christians could use Christ as the “trouble tree.” Thus we Christians could begin each new day with the love, compassion, hope and courage Christ provides to each of us.

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