devos from the hill



William Whiting BordenIn Cairo, Egypt, at the end of a garbage-lined alley, in a poorly kept grave yard, there is a grave stone with this inscription . . .

  Apart from faith in Christ there is no explanation for such a life.
“Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”
 – St. Mark XVI 15

This is the grave of William Whiting Borden (1887-1913).

An heir to the Borden Milk Co., William was born into affluence in Chicago, Illinois on November 1, 1887. In 1894, William’s mother became a Christ follower and she began taking him to Chicago Avenue Church (now Moody Church). William soon responded to the gospel preaching of Dr. R. A. Torrey, turned to Christ and was baptized.

When William graduated from high school in 1906, his parents offered whatever he wanted as a graduation present. He chose a trip around the world. For three months, he traveled by boat, train and on foot. He came home convinced that he wanted to be a missionary. His father saw this as a youthful aspiration, and assuming he would grow out of it, sent William off to Yale to earn a business degree.

Athletic, handsome and one of the most popular students at Yale, William started a morning prayer group that soon spread across the campus. By the end of the first year, 150 freshmen were meeting weekly for Bible study and prayer. By the time William was a senior, 1,000 of Yale’s 1,300 students were meeting in such groups.

While at Yale, William’s father died leaving him a fortune. Still, he remained resolute regarding his goal to become a missionary. Knowing what a man like William could accomplish with his wealth, a family friend expressed that William would be “throwing himself away as a missionary.”  In response, William wrote in the back of his Bible, “NO RESERVES”.

After Yale, he enrolled in Princeton Divinity School, and after graduation he had several lucrative opportunities in business. Still, his sights were set on the mission field and souls who had never heard the name of Jesus, specifically the Muslims of Northern China. In the back of his Bible, he wrote two more words, “NO RETREAT!” and he set sail for Egypt to prepare for his mission.

Soon after arriving in Egypt, William contracted spinal meningitis and died within a month, at 25. His death caused quite a stir back in the U.S. People struggled to understand it. Across the country, newspapers ran the story with the headlines, “William Borden, heir apparent to the Borden Dairy industry dies in Egypt…What a waste.”

Shortly before his death, William wrote two more words in the back of his Bible, “NO REGRETS!”

NO RESERVES, NO RETREAT, NO REGRETS. Was it a waste? Perhaps God is using William’s testimony to speak to you now, as He has done with so many others before you. What is done in obedience to Christ is never a waste!

Apart from faith in Christ there is no explanation for such a life.


  1. Thanks for this great reminder, Fred! Prov. 25:25

  2. I LOVED this!!! The message, the words, the story! Reminds me of how Betty and Todd comforted others when Carolyn died and they kept expressing how sad B & T must be to lose her so young. B & T responded to some that God allowed her to triumph over some troubled areas, she was happy, she did very well and was recognized in school for Architecture, and she had gotten herself in better physical shape. (A lot more, but you get the gist!) In any case, they felt God was compassionate to take her after those things because she was in a great place – she’s in an even BETTER place for sure now! And probably sitting on a great looking couch – ha!

    Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2015 16:58:00 +0000 To:

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