I love the movie Princess Bride. I love to quote that movie, especially the wedding scene. I don’t think anyone will ever ask me to marry them.
But, I also like the scenes where Vizzini exclaims, “Inconceivable!” Of course, what he considers to inconceivable actually happens. This leads Inigo Montoya to postulate, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Lately, I’ve been paying attention to the way that Christians use words like “minister” and “ministry.” I have to agree with Inigo that I do not think these words mean what many people think they mean. You see, in Scripture, the “minister” means “servant” – yes, as in the menial, get your hands dirty, lowest rung of the ladder sense. And, the term “ministry” means “service” – yes, as in the work that a servant does.
But, when I’ve listened to various conversations, I’ve noticed that you can’t always substitute the word “servant” for “minister” or “service” for “ministry”. For example, consider these 100% true statements that I’ve heard or read recently:
“Are you an ordained minister?”
Substitute the word “servant”:
“Are you an ordained servant?”
“Has God called you into the ministry?”
Now substitute the word “service”:
“Has God called you into service?”
“Before you do that, you should get permission from the minister.”
Again, substitute the word “servant”:
“Before you do that, you should get permission from the servant.”
Again, I do not think these words mean what many people think they mean.
Is that a problem? Well, no, not if people admit that they’re using the words in a completely unscriptural manner.
But, it is a big problem when we start reading these mis-definitions back into Scripture.