“On this Father’s Day 2019, I want my life to reflect the heart of William Borden – NO RESERVES – NO RETREATS – NO REGRETS.”

-By Philip K. Hardin, M.A., M. Div., LMFT, LPC

By Philip K. Hardin, M.A., M. Div., LMFT, LPC

William Borden was born in 1887 to one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Chicago. 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 16-year-old Borden a trip around the world. As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world’s hurting people. Finally, Bill Borden wrote home about his desire to be a missionary.


One friend expressed surprise that he was “throwing himself away as a missionary.”


In response, Bill wrote two words in the back of his Bible: “NO RESERVES.”


During his college years, Bill Borden made one entry in his personal journey that defined what his classmates were seeing in him. That entry said simply: “Say NO to self and YES to Jesus every time.”


Upon graduation from Yale, Borden turned down some high paying job offers, as well as offers to pastor churches. In his Bible, he wrote two more words: “NO RETREATS.”


Borden went on to graduate work at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. When he finished his studies at Princeton, he sailed for China. Because he was hoping to work with Muslims, he stopped first in Egypt to study Arabic. While there, he contracted spinal meningitis. Within a month, 25-year-old William Borden was dead.

While on his deathbed, he wrote two final words in his Bible: “NO REGRETS.”


When news William Whiting Borden’s death was cabled back to the U.S., nearly every American newspaper carried the story. “A wave of sorrow went around the world … Borden not only gave away his wealth, but himself, in a way so joyous and natural that it seemed a privilege rather than a sacrifice” wrote Mary Taylor in her introduction to his biography.


On this Father’s Day 2019, I want my life to reflect the heart of William Borden – NO RESERVES – NO RETREATS – NO REGRETS.

I desire that my life would be a like Borden’s life for my two daughters. God has given me no greater calling than to be a father to two beautiful daughters. I pray that their lives are better because they have a dad who lives a life that they can be proud of and inspired by


I want my role as their father to be my legacy. As Malachi 4:6 says: “He will convince parents (Dads) to look after their children and children to look up to their parents (Dads).”


NO RESERVES – I believe that my life is meant to be a living sacrifice to the cause of Christ. I gave my life to Jesus as a college student, much the way William Borden did. My heart was changed, and the path of my life was headed toward a Great Adventure that I could never have imagined or orchestrated. The joy of seeing God use my life to build His kingdom is “water into wine”—it’s truly a miracle.


Walking with Jesus for these many years has proven to be a journey of discovery, healing, and facing hardship with a power beyond my own. I have experienced the presence of Jesus through good times and challenging times. And, even in this season  of  my life, I have no desire to stop or slow down. I want to run the race that God put before me as a young college student until the day I breathe my last breath.


I am so grateful for the child-like enthusiasm that I feel for all things related to building His kingdom. Each day I get up, ready to proclaim Jesus and live the Great Adventure He has promised. I truly believe TODAY will be better than yesterday. As grandma says, “Save your fork, the best is yet to come!”


NO RETREATS – I want to see God use me in a greater way in this season of my life than all the preceding years. My greatest fear is that I would somehow miss out on how God could use me now because I pulled back or retreated. Karla and I are more excited today about our marriage and our calling than we were the day we were married 37 years ago. We have adopted our core philosophy of growth around a life of wholeness found in the balance of 4 areas—physical – emotional – social – spiritual as seen in Luke 2:52. Jesus modeled this process of development. I seek to be mindful of each of these areas each day.


I know if I am not growing, then I am dying.


NO REGRETS – I believe that Jesus came to set me free. Therefore, I do not want any circumstance or relationship to hold me back from experiencing His best. I do not want to miss His best by some childish stubbornness or resentful behavior. My father is 91 years old. I call him every Sunday morning before he goes to church. I am glad for his life. I want to honor him for all the good he has brought to my life and forgive him in the ways I have been hurt by him.


All fathers have the good things they bring and the broken parts that wound their children. No father is exempt- from loving and wounding our children.


I have worked with many fathers in my counseling practice who need to reconcile with sons or daughters. I often say –“There can be no healing without connection and there is no connection without feelings”.


Most dads do not know how to own the behavior that has caused wounds or to sit with feelings of hurt and sadness that have come from their failure to love well. They need to face addictions, anger issues, broken promises, emotional absence, or neglect of their own growth.


Forgiveness is critical to the process of healing and connection. We all need it and will all need to grant it. I do not want to live a single day wondering if there is something I need to address with my Dad or that there is something that I failed to say to my daughters.

I am committed to be free to love my father and my daughters by not harboring unforgiveness and always owning my failures.

I want to encourage you dads, even on this Father’s Day, to be proactive, to initiate and to be deliberate about your life and relationships.  That’s what a man who leaves a legacy does!


Happy Father’s Day to my Girls—Audrey & Abigail! Thanks for making me proud!


Ride ON!


Bridget Crowder