If you were to ask most six year old boys what they wanted to be when they grew up, you would receive answers such as: I want to be an astronaut…I want to be a fireman…I want to be a …
If you were to ask most six year old boys what they wanted to be when they grew up, you would receive answers such as: I want to be an astronaut…I want to be a fireman…I want to be a doctor…I want to be a cowboy (that was my six year old self’s desire)…(just like Roy Rogers)…
This week I read about a little boy by the name of Bill Borden who had grander designs for his ‘adult-self.’
Bill and a group of his cousins were playing at his home one day when his mother gathered them all together and gave them a piece of paper and a pencil.
She then asked them each of them to think about what they wanted to be when they grew up, and then they were to write their name and their answer on the paper.
Those pieces of paper were placed inside an envelope which was kept sealed for 10 years.
When 16 year old Bill’s mother opened his envelope his response read, “I want to be an honest man when I grow up, a true and loving and kind and faithful man.”
I mean WOW!
Those desires came from the mind of a six year old boy. But as we can see from that child’s answer he was not just any boy.
William Whiting Borden grew up in a very wealthy Chicago family that was heir to the Borden Dairy fortune.
When Bill was seven his mother became a committed born-again Christian, and the family started attending Moody Memorial Church where the Rev. Dr. R.A. Torrey was the pastor at the time.
One Sunday Pastor Torrey asked all who wished to dedicate their lives to Christian Service to please stand. Although Bill was still quite young, without hesitation he jumped to his feet.
From that day forward, Bill Borden never wavered in his commitment to Christ and Christian ministry.
After he graduated from high school he spent a year traveling around the world, visiting places throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Bill saw firsthand the spiritual needs of the people in the countries he visited.
He returned home a changed young man with a greater desire to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to people in ‘spiritual darkness.’
He enrolled in and graduated from Yale University, and then he went to Princeton Seminary.
While a student in seminary he not only involved himself in his studies, but he served as a volunteer in various ministries, and was at the same time active in the management of his family’s businesses.
Still in his early 20s, Bill served on the boards of numerous Christian organizations across the country.
After completing his seminary studies Bill joined the China Inland Mission, and he went to Cairo, Egypt to language school to learn the language of the people in the area of China he felt led to reach for Christ.
He had his heart set on going to China to preach the Gospel, but sadly, he contracted cerebral meningitis while in Egypt, and died in 1913 at the age of just 25.
William W. (Bill) Borden was faithful to Christ throughout his young life, and he left his fortune of more than one million dollars to different Christian missionary agencies.
Even after his death his desire to reach around the world with the message of His Savior’s grace continued.
Six year old Bill Borden wanted to grow up to be “an honest man…a true and loving and kind and faithful man.”
I believe that he accomplished that and more, all crammed into just 25 years.
The young Bill made his family proud, and changed the lives of countless others, while fulfilling that commitment he made to Christ during that altar call given by Dr. R.A. Torrey.
Bill served Christ honestly, truthfully, lovingly, kindly and faithfully.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
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