Three Foundations of an Unstoppable, Contagious Life!

William Whiting Borden

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:
“No Reserve”
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:
“No Retreat”
The last notation was dated just before he died.  After that date his family read these words
“No Regrets” 

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.   

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Robin Scott

    Wow! What an amazing story! We should all hope for that kind of faith! I, too, want to live with no regret and want to infect/affect others for Christ.

    Thanks so much for sharing this inspiring, and empowering story!

  • http://thereforenow.com Jim McNeely

    Fantastic story! I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. How exciting Wayne!

    I think that once we grasp the rich grace we have in Christ, and begin to realize the depth of His love for us, when we stop living from obligation and start living as the bride of the prince of the universe, we directly begin to live without reserve, retreat, or regret. I love that! He didn’t renounce a fortune, he became richer than all of that in Christ.

  • http://www.joyjoyg.com Joy Groblebe

    I love this idea that the result of your decisions may last long after your gone. VERY inspiring!

  • Tina

    To some people they dont think I live my life fully, but to me I am. I am being helped with the guidiance of the great person above me. Withut the guidiance I dont think I could be the person I am today. To me, I think part of living a filling life is to find balance. I work up to 4 hours a week, max. of 12 hours. I am part of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) helping to plan the 26th annual conference, and of course, NASW (National Association of Social Workers). For some time I was thinking that no one really see what I do, and how I am living a filled life, until, I was nominted for an award given out by NASW, and I won. I am the new NASW Citizen of the Year. Know that everything I have done in the past has been noticed, and it tells me that no matter the praise or no praise, I am touching others. This is my fully filled life AND I have no REGRETS for anything I have dont to get to this point.

  • pat

    Ah. Such words to live by and embrace. No Reserve, No Retreat, No Regrets. I’m posting that where I can see it every day. Thanks Ken and thanks William.

  • Danease Gresch

    Loved it Ken!! Even though William died at such a young age, his faith and love of God continued on after his death. We never know what we do here on earth, even if it is the tiniest thing, will live on after us and affect so many for the Kingdom of God. Thanks Ken!

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joseph Lalonde

    Thanks for sharing the story of William. I’d never heard it before. Sad yet more than inspiring.

  • Claudia Gloyd

    What a great story to start out the day! Mr. Borden’s compassion was great, but his commitment was EVERYTHING. I wonder at what he could have done, had he not met the Lord at such an early age, but I am AMAZED at what the Lord has done with his limited years on earth. PRAISE BE TO GOD!
    Have a terrific day, Ken!

  • Roger W. Mateer

    Some say living fully alive is akin to “when life gives you lemons make lemon aid.” or for someone like me make something that tastes like coffee, hot cocoa etc. I say to live fully alive you first have to look satan in the face, laugh and tell him he has a piece of spinach stuck in his front teeth.

    I live as close as I can to being fully alive simply because when I look outside and see the old tom turkey mocking me because the season has ended I see God saying “got you. now go out and try something else.” So two weeks ago I went trout catching for the first time. This weekend I’m going fishing,or, as my friends put it I’m going out to be a living anchor, something I haven’t done for years(being an anchor or fishing).

    Living fully alive doesn’t mean taking unnecessary risks, it does however mean that we should enjoy every minute given to us. So that when God asks us what we have for him we can answer with a smile and quote Erma Bombeck by saying. “I have nothing left because I used all your gifts while I was on earth.”

  • https://www.facebook.com/UbeeUbeeUbeeU Lonna

    “Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare.”
    - Voltaire ♥

  • Michele

    I want to tell you about my precious friend, Ellie, who just went home to be with her heavenly Father. I had known her for 33 years and she greatly affected my life as well as many others up until the day she left this earth. She had post polio syndrome and hereditarry spastic paraplegia (HSP) which gradually deteriorated her body over the past 2 1/2 years. Through each stage of this journey she graciously and courageously lived her life. As she lost her mobility she gradually became totally dependent on her sweet husband and others. Because of this many different caretakers and therapists would be brought in to her home to help her. They each were amazed at her attitude and saw Jesus in her. At least two of them came to know Him as their Savior. She had a time of prayer and Bible study with them at her bedside. When she could no longer carry on a long conversation because of lack of oxygen another friend would do the talking. Each caretaker will tell you that my friend helped them more than they helped her. She fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith! Two of her favorite verses were “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” Psalm 73:26 and “He must increase, but I must decrease” John 3:30