The quiet Tinker Jones. We don’t know much about him …he doesn’t speak, but hears quite well. He’s kind and giving beyond our understanding, wanting to bring people together instead of apart.
In this episode there is an argument among the church members regarding a bell. Yes, you heard right a bell! Wouldn’t a bell be amazing, to ring the people to worship! Nice sure, necessary I’m not so sure. The argument falls over who will pay for it and the plaque honoring the generous donor … What’s the deal with Mrs. Olson always wanting her name on a plaque? The arguments continue, Reverend Alden is forced to believe that he has torn the congregation in two. No one is budging
I can’t help but think of our churches encountering these same problems. Disagreement in how things are run, personalities that don’t get along, people being pushed out instead of included, pride. Here we are, the church … God’s chosen vehicle to share his love and we don’t look much different than the world. It’s no wonder, after all the church is made up of people. Sinful, selfish people. Us God-lovers are also lovers of self. We want our way, we want the events we enjoy, the pastors we connect with, the music that draws us into worship. Selfishness destroys and divides. It’s as ridiculous as wanting your name on a plaque, when it’s all about Jesus… should be all about Jesus!
If the church is made up of imperfect people then what are we to do? How are we to change the future of the church? From the voice of Tinker Jones we learn so much. His voice is not heard, but there is great action, great motivation to bring people together through his kindness. He crafts a bell, with the help of the children of Walnut Grove and through the donations of the townspeople, even though they are unaware of it. He doesn’t say it but his words ring loud and clear that unity is of greater importance than most things. I dare say that unity can be so visible to the world, that they are curious to know how we do it. In John 17:23 “I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”
How on earth do we put up with each other, especially those strong types that want to put their names on a plaque? We won’t always get it right, we are human. But we strive for kindness, to have the voice of Tinker Joes!