No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

There’s a story of a guy named William Borden. I heard the story of him quite a few years ago and was recently reminded of him in a sermon I was listening to. William Borden lived by this motto:

No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

That’s a motto I want remembered and present throughout the remainder of this post.

The name Borden should sound quite familiar to most of you, at least those of you who live in the United States. Not striking a chord with you? Well most of us have benefitted greatly from the industry William was the heir of: Borden, Inc. (MILK!)

In 1904, Borden graduated from high school in Chicago. He obviously was bankin’ and ballin’ and pretty much could have done anything he wanted. In fact, following his high school graduation at 16, his parents graduation gift to him was a trip around the world. As he traveled through areas of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, he became greatly burdened for the lost and the hurting in the world.

No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets

During his expedition, Borden wrote home and expressed to his family and friends that he had a great desire to be a missionary. A friend soon responded to him and told him he believed Borden was “throwing himself away to be a missionary.” I mean think about that. You’re a smart kid. You’re very well liked and you are part of one of the wealthiest families and businesses in the world… And you will soon inherit that. However, in response, Borden wrote two words in the back of his Bible:

No Reserves.

Soon after his arrival home, Borden began college at Yale. Immediately, Borden was recognized as someone different. He was the definition of a high capacity leader and just a phenomenal kid. Within days of moving to Yale, he and a friend began meeting every morning to pray and have a short time of Bible Study. Soon after they started, a third guy joined in on the daily study. To make a long story short, by the end of their freshman year, they had 150 freshman meeting weekly to pray and worship through the study of the Word. Incredibly, at the end of Borden’s 4 years at Yale, one thousand of Yale’s 1,300 seniors were meeting in groups doing the same.

No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

Borden was part of, quite possibly, the most recognized name in the country. He excelled in what he did, both spiritually and academically. On top of his zeal for Christ, Borden served as the President of the Honor Society and was well known for his knowledge. This man literally influenced most all of his class for Jesus Christ.

No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

Who wouldn’t want a guy like this to come and work for them? I mean besides the “ministry” opportunities we instantly think of. This guy was like Daniel. He found great favor in the sight of men. He devoted himself to the highest level of excellence he could. People wanted this guy!

Instead, he decided to go to Graduate School at Princeton. At Princeton, he finalized his calling to the mission field and realized God wanted him to do something radical. He knew that God was calling him to bust his “Alabaster Jar.” He forsake his inheritance, he forsake his name, and his potential to be a missionary to an unreached people group in China…. All for the name of Jesus.

No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

He was doing all of this for the greater calling Jesus had placed on his life. But just like the disciples in Matthew 26 said to the woman who gave it ALL to Jesus, his friends were persistent that he was wasting all of his potential to give it all to Him.

In Matthew 26, the woman comes in, and pours what she had in her Alabaster Flask on the head and feet of Jesus. And right about that time, the disciples indignantly said to her:

“Why this waste?”

They were freaking out. They were saying to her that the ointment she had just poured out for Jesus could have been sold for a bunch of money and given to the poor! Weren’t they right though? Wasn’t that what Jesus was constantly trying to drive home to the disciples? To invest and care for the poor? This one time it seemed like these idiots finally had it right, Jesus said “No.”

Let me take this opportunity to say: Jesus is all that we have.

Let me take this opportunity to say: Jesus is the only thing that matters.

Let me take this opportunity to say: God is incredibly Sovereign. God is righteously about His own Glory and God wants us to give Him EVERYTHING.

So this Borden guy, who everyone thought was wasting all of his “potential,” decided that if he was going to hang out with some Muslims in China, he needed to learn some things about them. So that’s what he did. He boarded a ship to Cairo to gain some training in dealing with this group. He began meeting with Christians who had converted from Islam and began learning quite a bit about the culture of this people.

No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

One month into his stay in Cairo, at the age of 25, Borden contracted “Spinal Meningitis” and died.

Dang. But what about all that he gave up? What about the obedience that he continually displayed in where God wanted Him to be? What about the constant surrender and perseverance he showed for God’s Glory? He didn’t even accomplish anything!

When word of his death was released, the story was carried by almost every big name American news source. And it’s interesting, most of Borden’s friends were very similar to the hearts and minds of the disciples in saying “Why this waste?” Yet the newspapers were very similar to the heart of Christ when they wrote:

“A wave of sorrow went around the world. Borden gave not only his wealth, but himself. In a way
so joyous and natural, that it seemed a privilege rather than a sacrifice.”

No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

Isn’t that incredible? Isn’t that what Christ is continually calling us to? Isn’t he constantly driving us to willingly give and graciously see Him as the prize? Doesn’t he want our hearts to see these things as a privilege rather than a sacrifice?

When the family began collecting the belongings of William Borden, they found that Bible. And when they picked it up, they flipped to the very last page and saw those two words with four more added to it:

No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

So did Borden really waste it all? No. In fact we can answer that question pretty much the same way Christ responded to the disciples. Borden’s legacy is still being carried out.

I know this is lengthy but just hang with me.

The Lord has shown me His Glory and His perfect plan through some things I have experienced this week.

This past July, I was approached and asked if I’d be interested in going on a trip in December to distribute Christmas Gifts in some fairly remote and secluded communities in the woods of Nicaragua. So this past Monday, myself and 8 others boarded a flight to do just that.

We arrived in Managua and took the one hour drive to the city of Catarina. We were so excited to see how God would use these old shoe boxes stuffed with very basic toys and supplies to bring joy to others and Glory to Himself.

Little did we know God had other plans for our trip.

We got settled in on Monday and were told that the boxes hadn’t been released yet from the ship and customs but that we should get them by Tuesday Morning just in time for our long trek into the villages on Wednesday.

Tuesday rolled around and no shoe boxes. In fact, the missionaries we are with loaded us up and we marched into what felt like Nicaragua’s version of the DMV. So needless to say, it was a LONG, MISERABLE, and HOT couple of hours. We had hoped to maybe use a little element of intimidation with these stubborn government officials but, to no avail.

So thoughts for Plan B began being discussed. And plan C…. And D, E, and F. And that’s what our whole week pretty much consisted of.

We were bummed but thought, “no prob, they’ll be here mañana.” Nope! Mañana came and a Piñata was our plan B.

So we went out and bought about 6 piñatas before our three hour drive into the mountains(one piñata for each community).

And my, how God really began to just bless us and bring Himself Glory.

We got into the areas we were planning on serving and began beating the snot out of some piñatas. The kids loved it and their minds weren’t on Christmas gifts, or the lack thereof. They simply just soaked up the love of Jesus they were being shown. They basked in the fellowship they were able to take part in and that literally was all they had other than the clothes they wore and the homes they lived in that were made out of mostly scraps of metal.

Wednesday night, we slept in a pitch black church with no electricity and a million bugs. I don’t do bugs. And I also realized that if the opportunity ever is presented to absolutely murder a rooster, I’ll take it. It gets real cold in the mountains and our cots and one blanket didn’t suffice for our greater warmth. On top of that, EVERYONE out there owns a rooster. Actually they own 16 roosters. Roosters that were obviously very confused about what time it was at 2am. There was no sleeping that night.

And I’m thankful for every bit of it.

Despite being able to see clearly and completely the ways God has blessed my life this week, there were many times I was tempted to say(and did say):

“Why this waste?”

The truth of it all is, there was never a time in heaven or on earth that we were supposed to come here and hand out Christmas boxes. God never had that in mind for us, rather, He had set aside, before the foundations of the world in fact, for us to come here and do what we did.

And at a time where it would be easy to ask why this waste? Or to wander why in the world He sent us here to spank the snot out of piñatas, to be kept awake by a rooster, or to freeze to [near] death… God had a plan for His greater Glory and our Greater Joy than anything else that we could have possibly been part of this week.

I really wish I could keep writing, but I don’t want this to be too long….ah hem.

It’s been an incredible week and I am extremely thankful for it…and for the work Christ will continue to do as the Father sees fit.

May we all live with No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

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About the Author

Posted by

Husband to Lynzie and dad to Emilee, Gabe, J.B., and Beau. Lead Pastor of Grace Harbor Church in Oklahoma City.

Categories:

Gospel, Ministry, Missions

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