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FIRST GLIMPSE: just like jesus

Eric Thomsen is the managing editor of ONE Magazine. Send comments and observations about ONE to

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5

ON THOSE RARE OCCASIONS WHEN I SEE AUNT BETTY, I ALWAYS experience a flood of memories—the smell of Play-Doh™, the taste of cheap cookies and strawberry Kool-Aid, the wind in my face as I sped down the “big” slide at recess, and the rustling of cots in the darkness of naptime.

(Aunt) Betty Henderson was my kindergarten teacher. She was strict but never harsh. And the lessons I learned from her were far more important than the ABCs: tell the truth, don’t talk out of turn, collect a hug at the end of the day, and love Jesus—Oh yes, most of all, love Jesus! 

THE LIGHT FROM LESTER JENKINS SMILE FILLED THE ENTRANCE of the small church as he greeted the congregation. With the final amen of each service, kids of all ages headed for Mr. Lester and his candy-stuffed pockets. He never disappointed us. And he always smiled.

It didn’t mean much to me at the time, but that brilliant smile reached beyond the doors of the church. Lester brightened hospitals and nursing homes, and he rarely missed a funeral in our community. His philosophy? Folks just needed a kind word and a smile…a big smile.

I was at school during Lester’s funeral, but I will never forget the awe-struck expression on my dad’s face. “People were everywhere. They didn’t fit in the sanctuary. They were standing in the back, waiting outside…never saw anything like it.” I guess it wasn’t just kids who appreciated Mr. Jenkins’ lifetime of kindness.

ALTHOUGH HE HAD BEEN THE NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF MASTER'S MEN, Loyd Olsan never mentioned it. As a rookie youth pastor, I simply knew Loyd as a man who could take anything from a group of rowdy kids without losing his smile. I watched, learned, and marveled as he and his wife demonstrated a consistent, godly example for the children they served week after week.

Today, those rowdy kids are in high school and college, but they haven’t forgotten the Olsans. Perhaps 17-year-old Crystal said it best. “Mr. Olsan was just like Jesus to me.”

What do these influential men and women have in common? They are ordinary folks with an extraordinary commitment to Jesus Christ. Makes me wonder—does anyone say I am “just like Jesus” to them?








©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists