William Borden (1887 – 1913)

Any life lived wholly for Jesus is a life with “no regrets.” Will it cost something? Yes, but the earthly cost fails to compare with the eternal rewards. William Borden was a young man who understood this truth and lived it out.

Though born into the wealthy “Borden Milk” family, William soon discerned that only heavenly riches are lasting and sought to use his resources to advance God’s Kingdom. While taking a trip around the world at age seventeen, William grew burdened by the spiritual darkness and needs he saw in other lands. He determined to prepare for service on a foreign field.

God first gave him a mission field among his classmates at Yale University. Each day was packed with purpose for William. “Every man in the University must be reached! . . . Any day in which work is not done for Christ is wasted. Moreover, I’m a fool for letting such be—for they are not pleasant.”  William learned many lessons about self-discipline and trusting God during his time at Yale and also Princeton Seminary.

Thoughtful acts of service, earnest prayer, diligent study, and genuine love displayed in practical ways—these were characteristics of William Borden’s life. When his father unexpectedly died, William made the effort to write his mother every day in addition to his many school responsibilities. He sought to please the Lord in every area of his daily life, from recreation and study to his devotional life and student ministry. Many students came to Christ as a result of his yielded and faithful life.

In 1913, Borden arrived in Egypt to train for his life work among Muslim people. That same year, he contracted cerebral meningitis resulting in his early death. Only twenty-five years old, but such a full life! Newspapers all over the United States published accounts of the life that influenced many people worldwide, causing great advances in the Lord’s work. Freely giving not only of his wealth, but of himself in a joyful and natural way, counting it a privilege, not a sacrifice—this was Borden’s legacy. No life is wasted that is spent for Christ.

Information and quotations are taken from Borden of Yale by Mrs. Howard Taylor.