By Larry Ray Hafley
(In the spirit and principle of 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13, and Hebrews 13:7, this tribute of praise is offered with love and thanksgiving.)
Recently, while in meeting work southwest of Chicago, I was privileged to see again my long time friend, mentor, and beloved brother in the Lord, Oliver P. Walker, and his dear wife, Ollie. The Lord has blessed our generation with the good and the godly, but none shine better and brighter in the way of righteousness than do they.
Though the ravages of age and the afflictions of the flesh are taking their inexorable toll, still it may be said of brother Walker that his “inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). Though his eyes are dimmed, his spiritual force remains unabated. Indeed, it was a humble privilege and a high pleasure once again to preach the gospel with him and Ollie in the audience.
If ever steely resolve and tender purpose were rooted in one man, it is brother Walker. In nearly seven years of intimate association with him in the work of the gospel, I saw his unflinching faith and tender heart as he kindly dealt with those who troubled themselves and threatened the church. Despite provocations, never once did I ever see or sense the slightest indication of an unholy motive or an ungodly expression of any kind from brother Walker. Many times did I sit in business meetings and listen as all of us expressed our views about what should be done in a certain case. Almost always, brother Walker would be the last to speak, but when he spoke in his quiet, humble way, that was the end of all controversy. Not once in those happy years did I ever hear an unkind word with respect to brother Walker. Would to God that every church had such an elder serving in it as the Plano, Illinois church has had for many years.
Oliver and Ollie have never been too busy to render menial service. They were first at a “clean up” day at the church building. They have opened their home to brethren, especially to preachers who came for meetings. Brother Walker never thought that a sermon was “too strong” or that a false teacher had been mistreated when his doctrine held him up to ridicule. He supports sound doctrine and insists that the truth be preached in love and “with all boldness” (Acts 4:31; Eph. 4:15). He has written several articles and is an interesting, edifying speaker. Thus, privately, quietly, and publicly without flair, he has stood firm and forthright for the cause of truth.
He and his son, Paul, now serve together as elders of the Plano church. (Paul yet remains the only sixteen year old boy who ever called me and asked if he could ride with me to a meeting in the area. Now, he is a mature man, soon himself to be a grandfather!) What a tribute to brother and sister Walker that their son should now be serving and working with them in this way!
Are there young men, young husbands and fathers among us who aspire to such noble character and service? Are there young girls, wives and mothers among us who desire to develop that “meek and quiet spirit” which will love, train, and support such goodness and greatness in the cause and kingdom of Christ? Surely, in the heart of one who reads this there beats the drum of love and faith which will summon others to spiritual service. It is good to think that the generation to come may have the benefit of those today who are raising up the seed of Abraham, who, like the Walkers, will bless those yet unborn. “For he established a testimony . . . and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:5-7; cf. 2 Tim. 1:5; 2:2; 3:14, 15).
4626 Osage, Baytown, Texas 77521 LarryHafley@com