William Borden: How to Live With No Regrets

Is it even possible to live with no regrets? How can we live in such a way that life isn’t wasted?

One of my heroes is Dr. Stephen Olford. He often said these words, “Only one life twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Someone said, “What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.” No one illustrates this truth better than William Whiting Borden.

In 1904, William Borden, heir to the Borden Dairy Estate, graduated from a Chicago high school a millionaire. His parents gave him a trip around the world. Traveling through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, Borden felt a burden for the world’s hurting people. He wrote home and told his parents God was calling him to the mission field.

A friend told him he was throwing his life away. But Borden had made his decision. He wrote two words in the back of his Bible:

No Reserves.

William went on to Yale. Borden’s classmates noticed something unusual about him, and it wasn’t that he had lots of money.

One of them wrote: “He came to college far ahead, spiritually, of any of us. He had already given his heart in full surrender to Christ and had really done it. We who were his classmates learned to lean on him and find in him a strength that was solid as a rock, just because of this settled purpose and consecration.”

William Borden knew a secret that we all have to learn.

William believed we have to say, “no” to self and “yes” to Jesus.

During his first semester, William started a Bible study and prayer group. By the end of his freshman year, over 150 students met weekly to study God’s Word. In his senior year, 1,000 of the 1,300 students were attending weekly Bible study groups. The remaining 300 became the focus of William’s outreach program.

But Borden’s outreach ministry was not confined to the Yale students. “He cared about widows and orphans and the disabled. He rescued drunks from the streets of New Haven. To try to rehabilitate them, he founded the Yale Hope Mission. One of Bill Borden’s friends wrote that he ‘might often be found in the lower parts of the city at night, on the street, in a cheap lodging house or some restaurant to which he had taken a poor hungry fellow to feed him, seeking to lead men to Christ.’”

After graduating from Yale, he turned down several high paying job offers, and he wrote two more words in the back of his Bible:

No Retreats.

He completed his studies at Princeton Seminary and sailed for China to work with Muslims. He first stopped in Egypt to prepare for the work.

While in Egypt, at the age of 25, he was stricken with cerebral meningitis and died within a month. Some would say his life was a waste, but not in God’s plan. The last two words William Borden wrote were:

No Regrets.

William Borden
William Borden

The life we live rings for eternity. We have a choice to make. How we live for Jesus determines eternity. This life is a small piece of time that only matters if we become what He wants us to.

What about you, brother? What about you, sister? Will you live like William Borden?

No Reserves.

No Retreats.

No Regrets.

Pastor Rodney

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Rodney is an author, pastor, and the founder/managing editor of Liftupyourday.com. He has written over 200 articles and his first novel, The Rise of the Prophet, has just been released.

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