Dr. Marc Drake, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Sun Lakes
William Borden, heir of the Borden Dairy estate, inherited one million dollars at age 21. For a high school graduation present, he was sent on a trip around the world in 1904. However, little did those who gave him the trip realize the impact it would make on him. While traveling abroad, William became burdened for those with great material need and, especially, for those with great spiritual need.
He wrote home expressing the desire to give his life in service to Christ as a missionary. We’re told that although his friends and relatives couldn’t believe what they were hearing, William wrote in the back of his Bible: “No reserve.” After returning home, he enrolled at Yale University where, contrary to what others may have thought, college life did not change his desires for the mission field. It only fueled them! William began a Bible study, and by the end of his first year at Yale, he was seeing 150 students meeting every week to pray and study the Scriptures. By the time he was a senior, 1,000 of the 1,300 students at Yale were meeting in discipleship groups for weekly prayer and Bible study!
William Borden did not limit his efforts to the up-and-out around Yale’s pristine campus. He was equally concerned for the down-and-out and, consequently, he founded the Yale Hope Mission, ministering to those who were on the streets of New Haven, Connecticut. He offered hope to all, sharing the love of Christ with orphans, widows, the homeless and the hungry. When William graduated from Yale, he was offered impressive positions, but to the dismay of many relatives and friends, he refused. It is reported that he then wrote in the back of his Bible two more words: “No retreat.”
The young man then entered Princeton Seminary and after graduation sailed for China. He intended to serve Christ among the Muslim populations but, first, he stopped in Egypt to study Arabic and Islamic culture. However, while in Cairo, he contracted spinal meningitis and lived only two weeks longer. William Borden, heir to a vast fortune, was dead at 25 years of age. Memorial services were held for him all over the world. Here was a man who counted all things loss for the sake of knowing Christ and making Him known to others (see Philippians 3:8).
Oh, by the way, we are told that after William’s death his Bible was found and it was discovered that he had written two more words on the back page: “No regrets.” The unmarried William Borden left one million dollars to Christian causes and his “No reserve! No retreat! No regrets!” statement is legendary.
While some live to be 25 and others live to be 105, only God knows the reason for the number of our days. May we live them without regrets!