Current Events Monday: Stay the Course!

James Hassell   -  

Nearly 400,000 people showed up at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin over the past weekend, and the city also broke its single day sporting event crowd record on Sunday when 140,000 showed up for an epic Formula 1 race. Max Verstappen attributes his win mostly to a team decision to skip a final pit stop and become even more aggressive down the home stretch. Despite not having the best tires in the final laps, Verstappen stayed the course and pulled out a hard-fought victory.

You can read a well written article about the race by clicking on this link: F1: Verstappen brushes off Hamilton’s bid to win US Grand Prix (

Verstappen’s last minute heroics reminds me of a fellow Texas Baptist who lived in our area around 175 years ago. Z.N. Morrell—affectionately known as “Wildcat”—came to Texas in 1835 as a missionary via Tennessee and Mississippi, where he had started numerous churches. Wildcat Morrell wore a lot of hats, as well. He was a circuit-riding preacher, a land surveyor, and a schoolteacher among other things. He became a widower after the death of his first wife, and his second wife left him because of his ministerial travels. Bad health constantly plagued Morrell, but he stayed the course. He helped to start the first Baptist Association in Texas, covered a territory of 300 miles on horseback for preaching every month, planted numerous churches around the state, established peaceful relationships with Native American tribes after once fighting them, spent time on mission in Honduras for a few years, and then moved to Kyle, Texas when his health started failing him. Even in his bad health, Morrell turned to writing. His book, Flowers and Fruits from the Wilderness, provides a first-hand account of his wild life and travels. You can even visit his grave at the Texas State Cemetery here in Austin.

Hebrews 12:1 talks about a great “cloud of witness,” those who have gone before us in the Christian life and experience. These witnesses undoubtedly include Wildcat Morrell and others like him who stayed the course for Christ when it would have been much easier either to throw in the towel or make that last pit stop. It is no wonder that Paul likens our Christian journey to that of a race. We are to run this race to win for Christ. Stay the course today, friends!