Vance Christie

William Borden’s Impactful College Years for Christ

In addition to financially supporting the founding of the Yale Hope Mission…Borden was actively involved in the carrying out of its ministry. He regularly took part in helping to conduct the Gospel services that were held at the mission. A foreign visitor at Yale said that what had impressed him the most during his time in New Haven was seeing “William, this wealthy undergraduate, with his arm around a ‘down-and-outer,’ kneeling with him as he sought forgiveness and prayed the prayer of the publican: ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner’.”

William Borden’s example during his years as a student at Yale University (1905-1909) serves as a reminder that a young person whose life is fully dedicated to Christ Jesus can have a tremendous spiritual impact on others. May many consecrated Christian teens and young adults be encouraged in their own spiritual life and service by Borden’s outstanding example.
Borden’s years at Yale were active and well-rounded. As a sports enthusiast, he participated in football, baseball, wrestling, crew (rowing), and track. He excelled academically and as a senior was elected as president of Yale’s Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society. As an elected Class Deacon he was responsible for helping to encourage the spiritual wellbeing and service opportunities of his fellow classmen. His final year at Yale he was also a member of the Senior [Student Government] Council and served on the committee that produced the Class Book of the graduating class.
Borden was seventeen years old when he entered Yale as a freshman. One of his classmates wrote of him: “I first met Bill Borden in the fall of 1905, at the beginning of my freshman year in Yale. What struck me then and during my entire acquaintance with him, was the amazing maturity of his character. Though almost a year older than he was, I felt that in character, self-control, and measure of purpose, he was many years my senior. In many ways, I should say, he was the most mature man of his class.
I do not mean to imply that he was ‘oldmannish’ in the least. He had a keen sense of humor, could let out a most uproarious war whoop of a laugh, and was a famous ‘rough-houser’.
Another classmate of Borden’s testified of him: “He served on the committee in charge of the religious work of our class, and soon stamped himself as a leader in the Christian activities of the college. In spite of his younger age, he was far more mature in faith than many considerably older. His grasp of the essentials of faith was, even at this time, firm and assured.
“He had already decided to become a foreign missionary. A fixed purpose of this sort gives a man a great singleness of aim that steadies not only himself, but those he meets; and Bill’s character had a solidity about it, directly traceable to his surrender to Christ for a life of service. Interested as he was in football and many other activities, Bill let it be known that his heart was first in the service of the Savior, ever watching for opportunities for spreading the faith he believed so firmly himself.”
Shortly after arriving at Yale, Borden became involved with the university’s chapter of the Young Men’s Christian Association. At that time Yale’s YMCA enjoyed great importance and effectiveness on campus, promoting a high standard of scholarship and Christian endeavor. Often hundreds gathered for its Sunday evening services.
But many students did not attend the YMCA meetings, and Borden became burdened to reach them as well. As the first school term progressed, he and a likeminded friend began meeting each morning for prayer before going to breakfast. Soon two other students joined them.
Read More
Related Posts:

When God’s Sovereign Will Seems Inscrutable: Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth reached a number of solid conclusions about such incomprehensible developments: (1) Sometimes God’s sovereign will is inscrutable and defies easy explanation. Our “why?” questions may not be satisfactorily answered for a very long time, or perhaps not ever in this life, although they doubtless will be in eternity. (2) Such situations provide Christians with the opportunity to continue trusting and obeying God even in the face of incomprehensible, painful developments and stubbornly-persistent questions about them. 

Sometimes God’s sovereign will seems inscrutable, especially when it involves His allowing overwhelming trial or crushing disappointment. Or when He permits the thwarting of what consecrated Christians had become thoroughly convinced was in keeping with His plan and would bring great glory to Him.
Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015), a prominent American missionary, writer and speaker, as well as one of the most influential Christian women in the second half of the twentieth century, experienced God’s imponderable sovereign will more than once in her life and ministry. To follow is an account of an early occasion when that happened to her. It has some important lessons to teach us about responding properly to God’s will in the midst of our own distressing, perplexing circumstances of life.
In 1952 Elisabeth went to Ecuador as a single missionary. There she joined three other single lady missionaries in seeking to minister to the Colorado Indians from a ministry base in San Miguel. The Colorado Indians lived nearby in the jungles of Ecuador’s western rainforest.

Elisabeth, a trained linguist, had as her primary objective there to render the Colorado language into written form. She needed to hire a Colorado Indian language “informant” who could patiently work with her in learning the vocabulary and phonetics of their native tongue. But none of the Indians she met had any interest in doing so. They were proud, independent and a bit disdainful of the white women’s presence in their world.

Elisabeth, however, was confident that God would answer her prayers and grant her success in learning the Colorado language, harnessing it into an alphabet, and teaching the Indians to read and write in their own tongue. They would then be able to read the Bible for themselves, thus facilitating their coming to saving faith in Christ and their subsequent Christian growth and service. Great glory would be brought to God.

The Lord provided an even better informant than Elisabeth could have imagined in an Ecuadorian named Don Macario. He had grown up on a hacienda with Colorado children, and was completely bilingual in Spanish and Colorado. He was a Christian and was willing to work with Betty for what she could afford to pay him.

The Colorado Indians called their own language Tsahfihki, “the language of the people.” Macario taught Elisabeth Tsahfihki vocabulary, vowel pronunciations, inflections, parts of speech and sentence structure. She created detailed notecards and charts as well as orthography (spelling) lists, using phonetic symbols that represented Tsahfihki sounds. For several months the language work progressed well.

Then suddenly, tragically Don Macario was murdered! He had been clearing brush on a piece of property when a group of men showed up, claiming the land belonged to one of them. When Macario insisted the property was his, one of the men pulled out a gun and shot him in the head several times at point-blank range.

Read More
Related Posts:

Seeking and Following God’s Guidance – George Muller

Muller’s example reminds us of some important principles with regard to seeking and following God’s guidance: (1) Bathe our endeavors and decisions in much prayer; (2) Make sure our motives are right—to bring glory to God and benefit to others, not to gain attention or honor for ourselves; (3) Look for confirmation of our plans through the positive outworking of circumstances and the affirming support of other people; (4) Lay hold of and exercise scriptural principles that can strengthen us in our endeavors; (5) We shouldn’t be too surprised if we sometimes have doubts and need additional encouragement from the Lord; (6) Don’t forget to ask God to bless us in all the specific ways that are needed, including basic blessings that we might tend to take for granted; (7) Be sure, as Muller did, to recount God’s many blessings and to heartily praise Him for them.

Recently while seeking God’s direction about quite a significant ministry decision in my own life, I was encouraged by going back and reviewing some of the specific details of how the Lord led George Muller into his great orphan ministry. Perhaps the rehearsal of those wonderful developments in Muller’s life will help provide you with some encouragement and guidance for those times when you find yourself seeking God’s direction about ministry-related matters or other important decisions in life.
Muller moved to Bristol, England, in 1832 at age twenty-six. There he co-pastored two congregations with his good friend and fellow minister Henry Craik. As part of his ministry, Muller taught Bible classes for destitute children and older people. He became greatly concerned for the spiritual and material needs of the many orphans he saw on the streets of Bristol. At that time in the whole of England there were only a dozen small orphanages—eight of those in London and none nearby Bristol.
Muller was acquainted with the work of German Professor A. H. Franke who over a century earlier had established large orphan houses in Germany. On November 20, 1835, Muller came across a biography on Franke. That evening and in the days to follow Muller wrote in his personal journal:
“I have frequently, for a long time, thought of laboring in a similar way, though it might be on a much smaller scale; not to imitate Franke, but in reliance upon the Lord. May God make it plain! November 21: Today I have had it very much impressed on my heart, no longer merely to think about the establishment of an orphan house, but actually to set about it, and I have been very much in prayer respecting it, in order to ascertain the Lord’s mind. November 23 [after receiving even more financial support for his ministries than he had requested in prayer]: This has been a great encouragement to me, and has still more stirred me up to think and pray about the establishment of an orphan house. November 25: I have been again much in prayer yesterday and today about the orphan house, and am more and more convinced that it is of God. May He in mercy guide me!”
In the days to follow Muller continued to spend many hours praying about the possible orphan ministry. He also repeatedly examined his own motives to make sure he was not thinking of pursuing this course out of a desire to gain glory for himself. Muller had a sincere desire to minister to the material and spiritual needs of orphans, and to help them grow up to become positive assets to society. But above all, as he would later write: “The first and primary object of the work was that God might be magnified by the fact that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need, only by prayer and faith, without anyone being asked by me or my fellow laborers, whereby it may be seen that God is FAITHFUL STILL and HEARS PRAYER STILL.”
Read More
Related Posts:

Scroll to top