“Follow Me.” –Jesus, as quoted in Luke 9:59 (NKJV)
When you hear the name “Borden,” it probably summons up images of cheese and other dairy products. After all, the company founded in 1857 to simplify milk distribution has practically become a household word.
But when I hear the name “Borden,” I think of a young man who gave up an affluent way of life to serve God—and whose choices have impacted me over a hundred years after his death.
Heir to the family fortune, William Whiting Borden heard the call of God when he was in his teens and answered with a resounding “Yes!” He was no fair weather Christian. He was the real deal.
That meant saying “No” to his father, who vowed William would never work in the company again. Many thought he was throwing away his life.
In order to prepare for his ministry in China, William went to Egypt to study Arabic. It was there he contracted spinal meningitis and died at the age of 25.
After his death, three phrases were found handwritten in his Bible: No reserves. No retreat. No regrets.
Contrast this with the Scripture reading for today, Luke 9:51–62, in which Jesus clearly showed what it takes to follow Him.
There will be rejection. Those who have answered Jesus’ call to “Follow Me” face rejection and ridicule. Would Tim Tebow still be playing professional football today if he hadn’t so clearly demonstrated Who was top priority in his life? Yet Tebow endures ridicule and banishment from the sport he loves while those who blatantly thumb their noses at God, His Word, and His commandments are hailed as heroes.
A fair weather Christian cannot endure rejection. The one who claims to be a true follower of Jesus but rides the fence, blends in with the crowd, and doesn’t speak up has rejected Jesus. Because to truly follow Jesus means no reserves. It means pulling out all the stops and standing on God’s promises, not on our bank balance, job security, or what others think of us.
There will be hardship. We think Christians have hardship here in the U.S.A. just because we endure a little persecution (and rejection and ridicule). I say “a little” because I think of Christians in Muslim countries, where the persecution is so severe, choosing to follow Christ means certain death.
“In the world you will have trouble,” Jesus said (John 16:33). Not “might” but “will.” There are those who profess to follow Jesus, but turn back as soon as they experience trouble. Nowhere in the Bible are we promised a life of ease. The gospel of health and wealth is not the gospel Jesus preached.
“Follow Me,” Jesus said. Fair weather Christians need not apply. For the true follower of Jesus, there is no retreat.
And finally, there is no looking back—to what was, to what might have been, to what you left behind. “No one,” Jesus said, “who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
For the true follower of Jesus, there is no turning back. There are no regrets.
Are you a fair weather Christian or the real deal?
Too many times, Father, I lapse into thinking like a fair weather Christian. Help me to be true to Your call no matter what it means. May I live my life in such a way that I can say, “no reserves, no retreat, no regrets” when it is over. Amen.
Extra tea: Read and meditate on Luke 9:51–62