Summary: Let’s discuss these 3 metaphors from Philippians 2:14-18 (Title and outline adapted from Stephen Davey at:


In 1904 William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school. As heir to the Borden Dairy estate, he was already a millionaire. For his high school graduation present, his parents gave him a trip around the world. Now William’s mother had a profound influence on his life. In fact, she had become a Christian when William was 8 years old and she often took him to church. By the time William graduated he had given his life to Christ. Now, as a 16 year old, traveling through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the lost. During that trip, Borden wrote home to say, “I have decided to give my life for the mission field.” At the same time, he wrote 2 words in the back of his Bible: “No reserve.”

Many thought it was youthful zeal and that it would pass with time. It didn’t. He began his college studies at Yale University with the desire to openly live for Jesus Christ. He became a leader for Christ on that campus. During his time at Yale, Borden started a small prayer group that would eventually transform the whole university. His Bible study group began a movement that spread across the campus and by the end of his first year, 150 freshman were meeting for weekly Bible study and prayer. By the time Borden was a senior, 1,000 of Yale’s 1,300 students were meeting in weely Bible studies and prayer groups. Borden’s drive, however, never let up on going overseas to uncharted areas with the gospel.

Upon graduation from Yale, his father offered him a position in the Borden company. William turned him down and his father said that he would never offer him a position in the company again. At this time Borden wrote in his Bible, “No Retreat.”

In keeping with his commitments, William turned down every lucrative position offered to him and he enrolled in seminary. After completing his studies, he immediately went to Egypt to learn Arabic to prepare for a lifetime ministry with the Muslims of China. But he would never make it to China. To the shock of the western world that had witnessed his decision to leave his inheritance and his wealth and connections behind, William became ill. While he was in Egypt learning the Arabic language, he contracted spinal meningitis and within a month, William Borden died- at the age of 25.

Newpapers headlined the unfortunate news of Yale’s famous graduate and the heir to the Borden inheritance. Many speculated on the value of his sacrifice and concluded that it was such a waste. Secular sources said it was a waste because he had such promise as a businessperson and could have made more money, instead he died in agony in a foreign country for a useless cause. Christian sources said it was a waste because he could have been such a force for missions for years to come but he died a senseless death. Imagine what he could have done if he had gone to China and started the mission to the Muslims

When William Borden’s parents were given his Bible, they found these words, “No reserve, No Retreat” and another phrase. William Borden had written these words shortly before his death in Egypt, “No Regret”- No reserve, no retreat and no regret


As a hospice chaplain I hear many people’s regrets. There are things that everyone would like to do over and do differently. However, dedicating our life to Jesus Christ and being involved in his work is never regretted.

Thinking of 2 individuals who died in our hospice service. One retired from Ford company and dedicated his remaining years to Christ by preaching and ministering wherever and whenever he could. The other retired from the military and from GM company and he did the same, dedicated his life to preaching and singing wherever and whenever he could. Both of these individuals did this work without payment and they had no regrets about serving in this way.

No one will ever say on their deathbed:

I wish I’d put in more hours at the job- I wish I’d landed that contract

I wish I had caught that 10 pound bass- I wish my golf handicap had been lower

I wish I would have spent more time watching TV- I wish I could have gone to Disney Land

In Philippians 2:14-18 (read Scripture) we hear from an aging Apostle who lived his life with no reserve, no retreat and no regret (no regret in his service to Jesus Christ)

Paul has just finished urging the Christians in Philippi to hold out the word of life to their sin darkened world; to stop complaining, but to shine like stars in the nigh sky to show the way home to Christ. In vs. 16 Paul starts to get personal- In other words, I want you to live out the gospel, because if you do, as far as I’m concerned, my life will not have been in vain- there will be no feeling of regrets in my ministry or in my life.

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