No Reserves, No Retreat, No Regrets


William Borden graduated from high school in Chicago in 1904. He was the heir of the Borden Dairy estate. For graduation, he received the uncommon gift of a trip around the world. Little did those who gave him this trip realize what it would do to him. While on the trip, William began to feel a burden for those less fortunate and those in need of Christ around the world. He wrote home expressing a desire to give his life in service to Christ as a missionary. Though friends and relatives stood in disbelief, Borden wrote two words in the back of his Bible: “No reserves.”

He returned to America and enrolled at Yale University. He was a model student. Though others might have thought college life would quench William’s desire for the mission field, it only fueled it. He started a Bible study, and by the end of his first year 150 students were meeting weekly to study the Scriptures and pray. By the time he was a senior, one thousand of the thirteen hundred students at Yale were in discipleship groups meeting for weekly Bible study and prayer.

He did not limit his evangelistic efforts simply to the up-and-out around Yale’s pristine campus. His heart was equally for the down-and-out. He founded the Yale Hope Mission. He ministered to those who were on the streets of New Haven, Connecticut. He shared the ministry of Christ with orphans, widows, the homeless, and the hungry, offering them hope and refuge. A visitor from oversees was asked what impressed him most during his time in America. He responded, “The sight of that young millionaire kneeling with his arm around a ‘bum’ in the Yale Hope Mission.”

When Borden graduated from Yale, he was offered many lucrative jobs. Yet to the dismay of many relatives and friends, he refused. Instead, he wrote in the back of his Bible two more words: “No retreat.” He entered Princeton Seminary and, upon graduation, set sail for China. Intending to serve Christ among the Muslim populations, he stopped over in Egypt to study and learn Arabic. However, while there, he contracted spinal meningitis. He lived only a month longer. At the age of twenty-five, William Borden was dead.

Borden counted all things loss for the sake of knowing Christ and making Him known. He refused to be taken in by the futility of the life inherited from his forefathers, but rather sought to live out the glory of his ransom by the blood of Jesus Christ. When his Bible was discovered after his death, it was found that he had added two more words to the back page: “No regrets.”

Those who know the price of their redemption also know that a life lived for the One who ransomed them is a life with no regrets. . . . William Borden chose to go with the One who had ransomed him. How about you?

– from Blood Work by Anthony Carter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s