Born in 1887, Billy grew up surrounded by the wealth of his family’s business. He graduated from Yale University in 1909 and then attended Princeton Theological Seminary. At age 25, and against his family’s wishes, Billy felt called to be a missionary to the Muslims in northern China. In doing so, he renounced his family’s fortune and accepted the meager life of a missionary. He traveled to Egypt for his training and while there, he contracted cerebral meningitis and died. After his death, his few belongings were shipped back to his parents.
When they opened up his Bible, they found were Billy had written ‘No Reserve’ and dated it at the time he gave up his family’s wealth. Then Billy had written ‘No Retreat’ and dated it just after his father told him he would never allow Billy to work in the family business because of his decision to be a missionary.
Finally, Billy wrote ‘No Regrets’ shortly before he died. Billy’s epitaph reads: “A man in Christ He arose and forsook all and followed Him, Kindly affectioned with brotherly love, Fervent in spirit serving the Lord, Rejoicing in hope, Patient in tribulation, Instant in prayer, Communicating to the necessity of saints, In honour preferring others, Apart from faith in Christ, There is no explanation for such a life.” Billy sacrificed everything for his calling to serve Christ and expected nothing in return.
A book was later written about the life of William (Billy) Borden called No Retreats, No Reserves, No Regrets and is excellent reading.