by Sharon Furrate Bailey
Do What is Right and Just … The Blessings Will Come.
Tex Morris is has been a financial advisor with Edward Jones for 17 years and enjoys helping his clients with their financial needs. He has built his practice on the principle that it is highly important to do what is right and always explain things honestly to clients when asked questions regarding their finances. Years ago when he attended Auburn University, Tex never imagined he would be in this industry — he had always been involved in sports, and his dream was to one day become a coach, but God had other plans.
During his time at Auburn he had a mentor by the name of Paul Nix. Nix was like a father to Tex, and while he was hard on him, he had high expectations for all that Tex could accomplish. He told Tex that he should not pursue coaching because he simply believed there was another field more suitable for him. As it turns out, Nix was right.
One Scripture that immediately comes to mind regarding Tex’s relationship with Nix and the insight given to him during those years is found in the Book of Jeremiah:
“… For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” – Jeremiah 29:11-14
Many years later, Tex can truly say without a shadow of a doubt that his marriage to Cindy, his wife of 31 years, and their mutual Christian-Catholic values and faith has carried them through career moves and financial challenges, and has been the firm foundation for all the good that has come to them. They attribute their prayer life, their support system through the church, and the belief that God will see them through any situation, as the reason why they made it through the difficult times when they needed to be sustained beyond what the world could offer.
Q: Would you please share about how you met Cindy, and how your shared Christian faith has helped both of you in your marriage and parental roles?
A: Cindy and I met at Auburn through a mutual friend when she was a freshman and I was a junior. We started studying together, and during that time Cindy invited me to attend church with her. I had not been to church since I was 14 years old and all of a sudden my family just stopped attending the Baptist church that I grew up in as a child in Columbus, Ga. I never understood why we stopped going and still do not know why today.
Life is quite different today, and I owe a lot of it to Cindy inviting me to Mass. I remember sitting next to Cindy at Mass and it was time to go to communion, but I knew since I was raised Baptist I could not partake of the Eucharist. Cindy gently placed her hand on my knee — I believe it was her way of making me feel accepted and comfortable even though I was not Catholic. The following week, I decided to convert to Catholicism. We shared the same core values in terms of how we would want to raise a family and approach life, so it just felt right. In 1985, my Catholic faith experience began as a convert and it is still very strong today.
Cindy and I are also very thankful for the impact Father Jerry Martin has had in our lives as well as our children’s lives. We met him at St. Thomas More and then followed him to St. Patrick’s. He always sent personal notes and clippings of anything he read in the newspaper about one of our children, and Cindy has kept all the notes and clippings he mailed to us over the years. He even encouraged me to run for pastoral counsel, which I agreed to do. One Sunday while in church, I read in the bulletin, “Tex Morris – Pastoral Counsel – unopposed,” which was just another step in my faith journey.
Q: When you and Cindy got married, you lived away from Louisiana — please share about the turning point in your life where as a couple your faith truly was the glue that held things together during a major life change.
A: My career after college began in the auto-finance business. It was my desire to become CEO one day and run the company. We moved many times for career reasons from Louisiana to St. Louis to Washington D.C. Cindy was a consultant making a very lucrative income, and I was doing well in my field. So, life seemed good, until the snowstorm — yes, a snowstorm made us reexamine our priorities and ultimately led us back to Louisiana.
While living in Washington D.C., Cindy had our first child. During that snowstorm, Cindy and I had trouble reaching our day care provider, and we were both stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. We felt helpless. The day care provider brought our child to church and we finally got there to pick our child up. Later that evening, we had a true awakening. We wanted to be available to our children; we wanted to be hands-on parents. Uncertain of what to do, I decided to just pick up the phone and make a call that changed our life’s course, though it required a leap of faith.
That phone call helped us out of having to face snowstorms, but it did make us face a storm of another kind — change. Change can be scary, and that is why most people choose to stay in situations that are causing stress, unhappiness, discord and other emotions because it is what he or she knows. Yet, change can also be looked at as a chance for a new beginning, a fresh start. Today, we are examples of what facing change did for my family, career and faith.
Q: Who did you call that helped re-route your career?
A: For some reason, I was led to call my broker at Smith Barney, and he assisted me in the career change process. I began to interview and take tests based on his advice and landed a job at Smith Barney. This career change led us back to Louisiana. During that time our income was affected by two-thirds, and Cindy was eight and a half months pregnant with our second child. People would probably say we were fools to make such a major change at that time, but Cindy and I stood firm on the decision and began to prepare for our move.
Q: The move was probably just as eye opening as the snowstorm in Washington D.C., because though you were out of the cold, what some would deem a hot mess occurred during your move. Would you share what happened that could have given you second thoughts about this change?
A: The moving van had all of our valuables in it and the van caught fire and 80 percent of our items were engulfed in flames and destroyed. As I was retrieving what I could from the moving van after the scorching occurred, I grew madder and madder. My wife was pregnant with our second child and to have a fire destroy almost everything — I would not say it was a particularly joyous time. It certainly was not what we expected, yet there was one particular item that we removed from the van to discover in a sense, a sign, that God was there us in the midst of a tragic situation. There was a chest of drawers I took out, and I opened the middle drawer to discover a hand-sewn baptismal gown, a baptismal candle and a Bible. The gown was in a Ziploc bag and all of those items were untouched by the blaze.
We saved what could be salvaged, laid mattresses on the floor of our home in Sherwood Forest and began a new life in Louisiana. I could not believe the friends that came out of nowhere upon hearing of our situation. We had been away for five years, but these friends showed up and helped meet our needs.
What a testament to the Scripture, Matthew 25:35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
One may ask, what was the purpose in moving? After all, we lost most of our possessions. It’s simple: Cindy and I wanted to raise our family and be there for our children’s birthday parties, sports outings, holidays and every important milestone, and Louisiana is where we landed and it’s been very conducive to the lifestyle that we imagined.
Q: As a Christian businessman, how can the body of believers become more unified?
A: Christian leaders tend to believe their way is the right way. We need to remember that we all believe in Jesus. He came, He died, He rose from the dead. Faith is divine; religion is human. The Bible is our daily guide.
I like to think of the body of Christ like a sports team. For instance, as the catcher at Auburn, I had to be there when the pitcher threw the ball. Cindy played basketball and she had to learn to trust the other teammates to be in their positions, just as she needed to be in her rightful position. The weekly Bible study I attend at Istrouma is sports-related in a sense, and I am reminded how important it is to work together as a team and work toward the same goal.
We all need to remember to “always be humble and kind,” too. Cindy and I have made this our life mantra. Love is also very important — love covers all and it does help bring people together; love puts others’ needs before our own.
Q: Cindy has been by your side in this faith journey since you met at Auburn, but what can you share about your parents and how they helped shape you into the man you are today?
A: My dad, James “Tex” Morris, was a military sergeant in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. He did three tours in Vietnam. My mom, Murial Morris, was a legal secretary. Together they instilled the values to my siblings and me to do what is right and act in a mannerly way. Their influence in my developmental years is why I still hold the door for my wife and all women today. Though my dad stopped going to church all of a sudden one day, I was with him when he fell ill toward the end of his life. Cindy and I witnessed his faith return, and he would ask us to pray with him and sing songs. For a man who was not keen on showing his emotions, this was truly a gift. We also witnessed my mother’s faith as she stood by and took care of my dad while he was ill.
Q: What has helped you become a successful Edward Jones financial advisor?
A: My faith, my marriage, my three children, Claire, Joshua and Noelle, and my family and friends are the cords that comprise a strong support system. And, I attribute a lot to my first client. In my office, I have a picture of my first client holding up a bass fish she caught. I served as her broker for 20 years. I was broker of the day back when I was starting out, and she called the office and wanted to buy a savings bond. We had a business relationship, but she also became a friend. When she passed away at 97 years of age, I was asked to be a pallbearer at her funeral. These are the kind of relationships that can form when you remember to be honest, just and look out for the best interest of the client.
I also have a wonderful staff — Mary Bachman has 21 years of service with Edward Jones and has been with me for 17 years. Laura Guarino has been with us for five years.
Q: Would it be correct to say your faith serves as a plumb line for the way you conduct business?
A: I would say my faith plays a major role in my approach to business. Doing the right thing in business is paramount. Sometimes emotions come into play when dealing with people, but emotions can cloud things at times, and it is important to remove the emotion and remain professional. If one explains clearly to a client why a particular decision or transaction must be made, when he or she understands the why, trust forms, and the relationship can be one that becomes long lasting.
Q: What charities are you involved in other than your participation and involvement at church?
A: Hallowheel is a charity tournament put on by the Baton Rouge Wheelchair Tennis Association to help raise funds for the Cajun Classic. The players in Hallowheel are all able-bodied individuals. On the other hand, the Cajun Classic is a 100 percent wheelchair player tourney. All entrants are wheelchair players, and the event draws the top professional wheelchair tennis players from 21 countries. Cindy and I are personally involved with Hallowheel and get a lot of satisfaction by being able to help.
Tex Morris took a leap a faith, landed in the Lord’s will, and is still going strong with Edward Jones today. What a testimony to God’s faithfulness!
Tex Morris’ Edward Jones office is located at 7147 Jefferson Highway, Baton Rouge, La. For more information about his financial advising services visit his website https://www.edwardjones.com/texjames-morris or call the office number (225) 928-8659 to set up an appointment.