Howard Culbertson writes for Southern Nazarene University:
In 1904 William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school. As heir to the Borden family fortune, he was already wealthy. For his high school graduation present, his parents gave 16-year-old Borden a trip around the world. As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world's hurting people. Finally, Bill Borden wrote home about his "desire to be a missionary."?
One friend expressed disbelief that Bill was "throwing himself away as a missionary."?
In response, Borden wrote two words in the back of his Bible: "No reserves." …? ?
During his college years, Bill Borden made an entry in his personal journal that defined him. That entry said simply: "Say 'no' to self and 'yes' to Jesus every time." …
Upon graduation from Yale, Borden turned down some high-paying job offers. In his Bible, he wrote two more words: "No retreats."
William Borden went on to do graduate work at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. When he finished his studies at Princeton, he sailed for China. Because he was hoping to work with Muslims, he stopped first in Egypt to study Arabic. While there, he contracted spinal meningitis. Within a month, 25-year-old William Borden was dead.
When the news of William Whiting Borden's death was cabled back to the U.S., the story was carried by nearly every American newspaper. "A wave of sorrow went round the world . . . Borden not only gave (away) his wealth, but himself, in a way so joyous and natural that it (seemed) a privilege rather than a sacrifice" wrote Mary Taylor in her introduction to his biography.*
*Quotations taken from Borden of Yale, by Mrs. Howard Taylor, Moody Press, Chicago
Prior to his death, fully aware that he'd not live to accomplish his earthly goals, Borden wrote two more words in his Bible. "No regrets."
Serve Christ with no reserves, no retreats, and you too will finish the course of your life with no regrets.
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him" (Romans 12:1, NLT).