Christian Living

Spiritual Life

No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets

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Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire. (1 Thessalonians 5:19 GW)

After he graduated from high school in 1904, William Bordon was called to be a missionary. At different points in Bordon's short life, he wrote in the back of his Bible, no reserves, no retreats, no regrets.

Though he came from a very wealthy family, wealth did not possess him. Early on in his life, a friend expressed that he was throwing his life away by becoming a missionary—he wrote in his Bible, no reserves. After he graduated from Yale, he was offered very lucrative positions—he penned, no retreats. His missionary call narrowed to a Muslim group in China. After doing graduate work at Princeton Seminary, he left for Egypt to study Arabic before arriving in China. In Egypt, he contracted spinal meningitis and within a month was dead at age twenty-five. Before his death, under the other two notations he had made in his Bible, he wrote—no regrets

Was William Borden's seemingly untimely death a waste of human life? Absolutely not. Thousands of people have read his story and have been encouraged in their missionary call. God never wastes any of our sorrows.

Things happen to Christians. We experience what we don't expect, and some expectations don't come to fruition. The Christian life often entails disappointments we can't understand, but God uses them for his ultimate good. God lives in the eternal now. God makes decisions based on past, present, and future considerations. Humans remember the past imperfectly, know what is happening now, and nothing about the future. God dwells on eternal priorities, man on temporal ones. Our heavenly Father always knows best.

The length of our life and our corresponding ministry are not indications of success in God's eyes. Take, for instance, John the Baptist. It is recorded in Matthew 11:2-3 (NASB1995),

“Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’”

His experience tempted John to doubt that Christ was the Messiah.

Copyright © Dec. 2020 Ken Barnes, used with permission.

Quotes drawn from Borden of Yale, by Mrs. Howard Taylor (1988)

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