It was a frequent part of my Grandfather’s (Axel A. Olson) evening prayer as we finished yet another workday. It seemed so different from seeing him in action throughout the day as I worked for him during the summer prior to the start of my Freshman year at Bethel College (now called Bethel University).
Not only working for Grandpa but having the pleasure of living with my Grandparents during that summer gave me an up close and personal view of how they lived their lives. The week always began with attending church followed by a family lunch he would host prior to “officially” beginning the work week.
Many times, Grandpa, who retired from his daily employment as President of St. Paul Federal Savings and Loan at 82, would take me along on errands and business engagements. It seemed everywhere we went people knew him and he knew everyone.
When St. Paul Federal hired someone new, Grandpa would take time to get to know him or her. One time he took me along during the coffee break with a newly hired file clerk. He wanted to know about her and he wanted her to know about and understand the history and philosophy of the Savings and Loan. He talked confidently about work being more than a job and that he was glad she was part of the team.
On another occasion, Grandpa took me to a private lunch with the leader of national Jewish organization. A portion of the conversation went something like this.
“Axel. Messiah has come. His name is Jesus.”
“Joe. Messiah has not come. We are still waiting for the Messiah.”
“Axel. Jesus is your Messiah. He came. He died. He rose from the grave. He is alive today and He desires to have a relationship with you.”
Grandpa had an incredible love and passion for Joe. No one doubted that Axel Olson was completely confident about how a person could be certain about eternity and he shared his faith with conviction with anyone. Yet as with Joe, he remained good friends with others and they had a high level of respect for each other.
Grandpa was passionate about Christian leaders meeting together on a regular basis. That particular summer, I remember a group of Christian Businessmen attending CBMC meetings at the Savings and Loan during lunch. It was great to see these business leaders take time out from their busy workdays to study the Bible, pray together and to encourage each other. Our move back to the Twin Cities resulted in a decision by me to join a CBMC Trusted Advisor’s Group in the summer of 2018 – 80 years after my Grandfather and other business leaders founded CBMC in the Twin Cities in 1938.
Early in my career, I would recall Grandpa Olson’s evening prayer that clearly described the source of his confidence and strength. I have adapted these elements in my own recurring prayer.
Lord Help! Lord Make it Clear! Lord Thanks!
So grateful for the summer where I had the delight and privilege of seeing Axel Olson (although far from perfect) live out his faith with a 24/7 mindset.