In my book “Fully Alive” which will be released on July 9th, I talk about living with nothing held back, pedal to the metal, trusting God to take you further than you could ever go on your own. That’s the kind of life lived by William Whiting Borden. This remarkable young man was the grandson of Gail Borden, the millionaire businessman and inventor of evaporated milk. William grew up in a world of wealth and exclusive privilege at the turn of the twentieth century. He planned to enter the family food processing business, but changed his mind after he met the great evangelist Dwight L. Moody and felt God calling him to the mission field. William went on to earn degrees from Yale and Princeton Theological Seminary, then decided to become a missionary to Muslims in northern China. His father was horrified at the thought, and threatened to cut William off from the family fortune if he went through with his plans.
Faced with a choice between inheriting millions and taking over the family business empire, or bringing the good new of God’s love to Islamic Chinese, William followed his heart. He moved to Cairo to study Arabic in preparation for his work in the mission field. There he caught cerebral meningitis and died at the age of twenty-five.
His friends found his Bible and sent it back to his family in America. Inside, he had written the date he renounced his fortune, then added this notation:
Another date marked the time when his father told him he’d never work in the family business. This date was followed by the words:
The last notation was dated just before he died. After that date his family read these words
His resolve and tenacious faith moved his parents deeply. The Borden family donated a million dollars (equal to more than twenty million today) to the China Inland Mission and other Christian missionary organizations. Part of it was used to build the Borden Memorial Hospital, still operating today in the Chinese city of Lanzhou.
Today, a hundred years later, William’s passion for life fully alive still bring hope and healing to people who live in a place William never saw and which remains one of the most resolutely atheistic cultures in the history of the world. His life and faith are helping people right now who have no idea he ever existed.
Living fully alive with these foundations is contagious!
Live with no reserve
Live with no retreat
Live with no regret
Infect / affect somebody!
Have you been affected by a life lived “Fully Alive”? I would love to hear about it.