No Reserves, No Retreat, No Regrets

William Borden was the heir of the Borden Dairy estate.  Upon graduation from high school in 1904, he received an amazing gift: a trip around the world.  While many would have deemed him spoiled, by God’s providence he was changed. He grew burdened for those around the world who struggled and were less fortunate and who were in need of Christ.  He wrote home expressing his desire to give his life to Christ as a missionary.  His family and friends were in disbelief.  In the back of Borden’s Bible, he wrote, “No reserves.”

Upon return to America, he enrolled at Yale and became a model student.  The thirst and fire for the mission field grew.  At Yale, he started a Bible study, and by the end of the first year, 150 students were meeting to study the Word and pray. By the time he was a senior, one thousand of the thirteen hundred students at Yale were in discipleship groups.  He also founded Yale Hope Mission, ministering to the down-and-out in New Haven.  A visitor to America was asked what impressed him the most.  He said, “The sight of that young millionaire kneeling with his arm around a ‘bum’ in the Yale Hope Mission.”

Upon graduation, Borden received many lucrative job offers.  But again, he wrote something in the back of his Bible: “No retreat.”  He entered seminary and set sail for China upon graduation.  In transit, he stopped in Egypt to study Arabic in order to minister to the Muslims.  While there, he contracted spinal meningitis, dying a month later at the age of 25.  When they discovered his Bible, two more words were written in the back: “no regrets.”[1]

William Borden shows what most every Christian experiences.

  • First, that through the blood of Christ, we are changed by the Holy Spirit (who is the only One who can change hearts).
  • Secondly, God changes our hearts for Christ by the Spirit to be aware of the opportunities he puts around us to bring glory to Him and good to others, especially by the gospel.
  • And thirdly, he gives us strength to take advantages of opportunities.

[1]Anthony Carter, Blood Work (Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust, 2013), 105-06.


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