Keith Olsen - Fifth Speaker at Gordon Winkler's Memorial Service - Saskatoon - Friday, September 9, 2011

2 Corinthians 6:1, "We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain."

Today in Salmon Arm, we are laying to rest one of our workers. Workers together with God. This week I looked through 1st and 2nd Corinthians to see the different names Paul gave to himself and to his co–workers.

1 Corinthians 1:1, Apostle Even as children we learned that an apostle is a sent one. So, the question is, who sent them? Everyone here can answer that. God sent them. I’m not here because I decided this was a good way to spend my life. I am here because of an experience of God calling me and thrusting me forth in the work.

Ministers If ministers, what do we have to share? We are ministers of the word of God, ministers of the Spirit. That is why, when you have ministers in your home, you feel the Spirit of God. We are ministers of the Spirit. That is why, when ministers are at your table, they share the word of God.

Your servants We are servants. Whom do we serve? We serve the Lord Jesus, but we also serve the church, our friends. Not that we do your bidding, but in the sense we are helping the Lord’s people come closer to do bidding of God.

Labourers If labourers, what do we do? We seek those lost. We help those found get closer to God. We share in the ministry of the Kingdom. We must not miss the privilege of labouring for those in prayer.

Today we are burying an apostle, a servant, a minister, a labourer.

2 Corinthians 6:4, But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;

2 Corinthians 6:6, By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

2 Corinthians 6:7, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

2 Corinthians 6:8, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;

2 Corinthians 6:9, As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;

2 Corinthians 6:10, As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Approving. Giving proof to those observing that we are the ministers of God.

In Pakistan, we were travelling at Special Meeting time when we came upon a car that was stopped. In it was none other than the president’s children. The driver could not get the vehicle going. We stopped and one of our visitors from Sri Lanka offered to help. He said, "I had one of these Jeeps and I might be able to fix it." Within 20 minutes the vehicle was going. He approved, or proved, that he had the knowledge to do what he said he would.

From many and varied experiences, by the power of God, in distresses, unknown yet known, in sorrowful experiences. In those experiences we try to display love truth, kindness, longsuffering. When in a difficult experience, we can show the Spirit of Christ, show ourselves approved ministers.

Gordon, in my eyes anyway, approved he was a minister of God.

I was 8 years old when I first met Gordon. When the workers list came out in 1951, it had David Leonhardt and Gordon Winkler together in the Neilburg field. They spent a lot of that winter with us. Both, I think, were in their 20s. Gordon definitely was. I was 8, younger brother about 3, ??? {I need to check these}. We had a 3 room house, so we lived very close to those two men. My impression was these two men were happy together and were happy doing what they were doing. My impression was that workers are happy people. It was not a wrong impression.

In visiting homes in Saskatoon, many spoke of visits of Gordon and his young companion, Terry. The impression was that workers are happy people.

Another impression of Gordon was on my first home visit. I was still searching for things to share with people, foundation truths, because the Gospel work was so new in that land. I was with Gordon at a convention and he spoke from Matthew 5. He mentioned how he longed to be a servant, and show he was a servant. He spoke of a companion he had in Korea. Gordon would say, “Perhaps you could do this, this afternoon.” He would say, “But Gordon, I have done that already.” He would say, “You could do this tomorrow,” and his companion would say, “But I have done that already.”

That left an impression in my heart.

It is not possible to explain all Ezekiel’s wheels or all the Revelation’s horses, but we can share the Spirit. Wonderful if we could ask something of someone, and they would already have done it, because of being a servant .

Another time, Gordon was coming to Pakistan for special meetings. When I heard, I asked if Gordon could come early to have time with me in Lahore. On the way to a Gospel meeting in a slum area, Gordon fell and cut his leg. It got infected and he had to spend 6 weeks in Bud and Faye Young’s home with his leg elevated. I never heard him say, “This isn’t why I came to Pakistan,” but he accepted it. I hope I learn that from my own experience.

My last phone call with Gordon, he told me of the flood of negative thoughts that kept coming.

Isaiah 45:3, "And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel."

This was not the first time Gordon had found treasures in a dark experience. Gordon struggled through those thoughts and feelings. In those last days, he found again a deep, deep peace so palpable that even the staff at the care home where he was mentioned it when they went in to his room.

No matter how much we struggle in life, the final victory is what matters. Tom Fredgren was sick with cancer and he felt, “Why? Why?” He told me himself of going for a walk at Button Willow, and on the hill prayed. God spoke to his heart and said, ”When I called you, I knew of your impending illness, but I called you anyway. I didn’t call you to defeat, but I have called you to final victory.”