Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No reserve. No retreats. No regrets.

6. Resolved, as it is the only way to guard the heart, to run after the imperishable Reward and know its lasting joy. LORD You know that this last year I have chased the unrewarding and have known reserve, retreat, and regret; but You are able to keep me from stumbling and to present me blameless before the presence of Your glory with great joy.
During his college days at Yale, Bill Borden--a hunky Matt-Damon lookin' guy from the Gold Coast in Chicago and heir to the Borden, Inc. fortune--cared for the poor, the handicapped, the widows, the orphans, and the alcoholics in New Haven. For their rehab he founded the Yale Hope Mission.

He had everything going for him when he graduated from Yale in 1909.
Then he heard the call of God to be a missionary to the Kansu Muslims in China.

He heard.
He heeded.

At the age of 25, Bill sailed for China, stopping first in Egypt in order to learn Arabic in preparation for his cross-cultural ministry.

There he contracted spinal meningitis in his first month.
He died two weeks later and was buried in Cairo.

It is said that found under his pillow on a crumpled paper scrap were trembling words written in a weak hand: "No reserve, no retreat, no regrets!"

He inscribed the same words in his Bible, which was found and given to his parents after his death.
"No reserve" was dated after his father cut off his inheritance.
"No retreat" after turning down several lucrative job offers stateside.
"No regrets" was dated shortly before he died in Egypt.
He had given it all and had nothing left to give, resolved not to back out, for the prize was worth even his life.

The modern discourse surrounding missions, I think, kinda mirrors that concerning marriage. In our parents' generation marriage was approached with "sacrifice" but much joy having in mind the great reward. Aware that 80% of them would die within two years, the early Student Volunteer Movement (SVM) missionaries to inland Africa packed their belongings in their coffins. Not long ago, the consideration became "commitment." Today we hear a lot of movement fueled by "passion."

Friends going on short-term trips this summer, let's ask of ourselves, which one is a sure and sustainable bedrock?

1 comment:

  1. he was also quite the studentchurch planter.