He was born in 1887 to a wealthy family – the Borden family (not to be confused with the Borden Milk Company). William’s father had made his fortune in the silver mines in Colorado, and then moved the family to Chicago. William heir to the financial empire, and everyone assumed that he would continue in his father’s footsteps.
After high school his parents gave him an around-the-world trip as a graduation gift, and this trip changed his perspective when he was exposed to the great needs around the world. Gradually he developed a heart for overseas missions – for reaching the unreached people groups around the world. His best friend told him he was an absolute fool to pursue missions when he had such a rich future in America.
After high school, Borden went to college at Yale and excelled in academics, and he became known for his evangelism to other students. He spent time working with the poor in New Haven, Connecticut.
After college he went on to Princeton Seminary, and while there God spoke to him specifically about going to reach a Muslim people group in Northwestern China. When he told his dad, his dad told him he would be disinherited and never have a place in the family business. William went anyway.
After seminary he boarded a ship to Egypt where he focused on learning Arabic. After a couple of months in Egypt he contracted cerebral meningitis and died in an Egyptian hospital at the age of 25. Newspapers all over America had as their headline, “The Death of the Heir to the Borden Fortune.”
Years later William Borden’s bible was discovered and in the back were written three phrases, dated at three significant milestones in his life. When his high school friend told him he was a fool for pursuing missions, he wrote the words “No reserves.” When his father said he was going to disinherit him, William wrote, “No retreat.” As he laid dying in the hospital, he wrote one final phrase, “No regrets.”
There's only one way to live without regrets, and that's to go all out for Jesus Christ.