William Borden's family had money. BIG money. William was the heir to the Borden family fortune -- the same company that at one time was the largest U.S. producer of dairy and pasta products.
William's family wanted him to go into the business -- but he felt God was asking him to become a missionary to China.
He went to Yale...and before he graduated, many of his classmates were meeting regularly for Bible studies. William had influenced them. (He became a Christian through Dwight L. Moody, a rough-and-tumble evangelist who is best known for founding Moody Bible Institute. Many of the songs Moody's leaders used are part of churches' repertoires even today.) William also graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary.
He went to Egypt, to begin training for his work with Muslims in China.
That's the rest of the story...right? William finished, went to China and made a huge impact...
William never made it out of Egypt. He died there, age 25, of spinal meningitis.
His Bible was given back to his parents. In it, they found two words, in William's handwriting:
"No Reserve" -- and a date, shortly after he gave up his fortune to become a missionary.
Two more words:
"No Retreat" -- that date, soon after being diagnosed with meningitis.
And one final phrase:
"No Regrets." Dated just before his death.
The Borden Memorial Hospital operates in Lanzhou, China today because of William. That's only one of the events -- and people -- this man's short life has influenced.
During college, Borden wrote in his journal, "Say 'no' to self and 'yes' to Jesus every time."
Can I do no less?
Read more about William Borden (1887-1913) at: