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Noblesse Oblige – Chapter 4: Noble Mission


Noblesse Oblige, by Scott Applegate

This book was released by a pastor & author from Westminster, Colorado in 2009.  Scott is the pastor of Novation Church, a non-denominational bible-first church that serves the community each and every day, spreading the Gospel through practical works and teaching. We will publish each chapter weekly, and encourage you to read it and digest it each week in order to search for and live God’s true calling on your life. Through this series you will learn to search for your Noble: Living, Purpose, Vision, Mission, Ability, Faith, Action, Assignments, and Death.

“Your career is what you get paid for, your calling is what you were made for.” Howard Hendricks

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” (Ephesians 4:1 NIV)

Chapter# 4 Noble Mission

Everyday, people speak words that they do not know the real meaning of. For example, people will say that someone or a situation needs to be treated with “Kid gloves”. What in the world does that mean? “Kid gloves” were a type of sheep material that was very thin and made the gloves tear easy. Thus treating a situation with “kid gloves” meant to treat a situation gently.

The fact that we do not really understand a word and still try to use it is not necessarily wrong; Christians use words or speak words to each other that they often do not really understand. This can lead to confusion. I told you earlier how people might confuse the word “purpose” with what they do, or their careers. But remember, as Christians we must never confuse our occupations with our purpose.

In my opinion, one of those misunderstood words is “calling”. People will say, “I feel God is ‘calling’ me to do something or ‘God has not called me’ to do this or that. For example, I have led several outreach, mission trips all over the world. I will make the opportunity known to my church and ask people if they want to go or not. People who are unsure whether they want to go will say, “I need to pray and see if God is calling me to this or if this is God’s will for me or not.” I always respond with: “when you pray ask God why He would not want you to go rather than IF He wants you to go. Why would God not want you to go and bless people and grow in your relationship with Him?” People often hide behind spiritual buzzwords, or stay in confusion because they do not understand the word “calling”.


Biblically speaking, there are two types of callings. In one sense there is a general calling for all people to come to Christ for salvation and to become like Him in our character (Isaiah 55:1, John 7:37, Matthew 22:14, Romans 8:29).

However, in a more specific sense there is a particular calling for Christ’s followers for a specific task or service in the Kingdom of Christ (Romans 1:1, Galatians 1:15, Jeremiah 1:5, Romans 12:6-8).

Being called to ministry is not just for pastors, preachers and missionaries; all of us have a calling on our lives. We are all called to do the work of Christ in some form or another.

What does it mean to have a calling? Your calling is the unique way God wired you and wants you to express His purpose of loving Him and others, through your life regardless of where or what your occupation is. In other words, your calling is your mission. From God’s perspective your life is a series of missions within the scope of one overall mission. Where and how you express your mission/calling will change often.

God has a unique way in which He wants each of us to express our divine purpose of loving Him and loving others. How do we find and express our calling?

Surrender every part of your present life and your future to the call of Jesus.

“If any of you wants to be my follower,” he told them, “you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.” (Mark 8:34-36 NLT)

This is discipleship 101. To follow Jesus is to give way and give in to God’s call on your life.  An un-yielded will is the biggest blockade to finding and expressing God’s calling for our lives.

Talk to God often about what is on your heart and ask Him what is on His heart for you.

“If you need wisdom–if you want to know what God wants you to do–ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.” (James 1:5 NLT)

Talk with trusted like-minded others often about what is on your heart.

“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)

We need to be humble enough to seek the wisdom and counsel of others. “…those who take advice are wise.” ( Proverbs 13:10 NLT)

Ask a few of your friends the following questions: “What am I good at? What strengths would you affirm in my life? Where is the most fruit or impact of my work?”

Take a step of faith and do something.

If what you desire to do has something to do with advancing the Kingdom of Christ you cannot fail. The only way we can fail is to do nothing and sit by waiting for the perfect circumstances and setting to happen.

Keep it practical for now. For example, if you feel God might be calling you to serve in your youth ministry, check it out- you will know as you step out. We walk with Christ; He does not walk for us. Simply put, our responsibility is to use our faith and act on the promptings of our heart and leave the results up to God.

I was involved in youth ministry for eight years, but I was the least likely candidate. I had a strong desire for being involved in ministry; however, youth ministry was far off my ministry radar screen. I was in Bible School when my church’s youth pastor asked me if I would be interested in coming to the youth meeting and playing guitar and checking out what they do. Out of respect for our youth pastor, I reluctantly went.

At the time I was really struggling to find “God’s will” for me concerning ministry. I shared my feelings with a pastor from another church at a Bible study. He stopped me in mid-sentence and said he felt like he had a word from God for me. He said, “Scott, you will know what God has for you as you follow on.” “Gee thanks, how profound,” I thought to myself as I said thanks for the word. It would not be until much later that I would realize how profound that word actually was for me.

As for youth ministry, I began to regularly come to the meetings. I got involved out of a desire to be faithful to something more than any deep feeling or calling to be there. The pastor began to put me to work and even gave me opportunities to teach and be up front. Teaching was something that I really felt I wanted to do, but was very intimidated by at the same time.

I was faithful to the ministry practically, but I had not given my whole heart to it. I was basically scattered doing a lot of good things in many ministries, but my heart was not settled on one. The day I graduated from Bible College, I told the youth pastor that I did not know why I was in youth ministry or where God was taking me, but that I was making a commitment to be 100% faithful until God directed me elsewhere. Immediately after I made that commitment I began to gain a passion for what I was doing in the lives of the youth. Little did I know what was shortly around the corner in my calling.

I was at a Promise Keepers event in the summer of 1996. During one of the sessions, the speaker who was talking to the men over the age of 20 told us that all the young men under 20 at the event were getting ready to come back into the stadium from their own meeting across the street. He instructed all the older men to give the young men a standing ovation as they walked back in. As we erupted into applause, God spoke to my heart that the call on my life was to disciple young men. All my desire for ministry and all of my struggling to find “God’s perfect will” for ministry was summed up in that simple statement from the Holy Spirit.

The next day at church God used a young teenage boy that was in my small group to confirm His word from the day before. He told me that he was at Promise Keepers the day before and felt like God told him that he needed a mentor in his life and that he was supposed to ask me to “disciple him”. Needless to say I was very moved and have spent my life since that day living for the unique way in which God has called me to express my purpose.

If you will step out and walk with Christ toward your calling, God will be faithful to unveil your calling along the way. As I was told, “you will know as you follow on.”

Have you taken a step towards what you feel God might be calling you to do?

Noble questions to ponder

Read Romans 12:6-8. Which of these gifts apply to you? What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What are you passionate about?

Are you passionate about what God is passionate about?

How do your calling and passions go together?

Have you talked with others about what you feel God has called you to?

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