A carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farm house has just finished a rough day on the job. A flat tyre made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit and now his ancient truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family.

As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.

When opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me so I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

'Oh, that's my trouble tree,' he replied. 'I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don't belong at home with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.'

'Funny thing is,' he smiled, 'when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.'

-Author Unknown

During the holidays, families, co-workers, ministers and friends often talk about being thankful. In many communities people are being more charitable and willing to serve their brothers, sisters and even strangers. Perhaps you accepted the 30-day challenge to post an image during November of what you’re thankful for or maybe you bought starbucks for the person behind you at the drive thru.

Maybe this week hasn’t started the way you would like and perhaps you’re finding it difficult to focus, let alone be thankful. Yet, I encourage you to look around and find reasons to be thankful. Find your trouble tree and hang those troubles so you can make room for gratitude to grow in your heart.

Take a look at Matthew 6 this week and allow Jesus’ words to help you cultivate a heart of gratitude. I know the Lord will speak to you in a powerful way.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” — Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

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