Recently, the Lord has been using different mediums to challenge me on what I’m willing to risk for His sake. With that in mind I’d like to remind you that when we risk something for God, we have the assurance of the Great Risk-Taker who went before us in the realm of risk. For example, William Borden of Yale, class of 1909, reminds us of that point. From the famous Borden family, the young man responded to John R. Mott’s turn-of-the-century call to take the Gospel to all the world. He surprised his Ivy League contemporaries by surrendering to God’s call to foreign missions in the wilds of western China. The whole nation watched as the young “millionaire missionary” raised his own support to go to China. Turning his back on affluence and comfort in America, he set sail amidst great fanfare to travel to the Chinese mission field. He disembarked in Cairo, Egypt, for a time of preparation. While in Cairo, he contracted spinal meningitis and died in a lonely hospital room. Before his death, however, he left a famous six-word message.
Scrawled on a pad of paper, he wrote these words in pencil: “No reserve, no retreat, no regrets.” William Borden had risked everything for the sake of the Gospel. It would appear to many secular observers that he had risked everything for nothing—he died in a lonely room having never reached his goal. Yet William Borden knew better. In his heart, he knew that he had taken the ultimate risk for the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether he reached his earthly destination was beside the point. He had taken the risk God wanted him to take.