Being Verbs, Doing Verbs, Helping Verbs and Pro-Verbs

It’s been my privilege and my pleasure over the years to occasionally teach some Language Arts classes for the 5th and 6th graders at the Christian school which resides in our church. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I love how fun language can be, and how it helps us to see, well, to see just about everything in a new light. I mean, language is that thing that gives us a way to talk about that, “something to talk about” we are always wanting to give people. (Insert song now playing in my head here!)

Verbs always seem to throw our kids (and their parents) for a loop. There are just so many– so many different kinds, and so many different tenses, and it can be really hard to know how to use which ones at which time and for what reason.

In class, we start by looking at the “being” verbs: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been. I like to call them the “equal” verbs because you can usually tell if a verb is a “being” verb if you can put an equal sign to your thought. For example, I am a Christian. I = Christian. Yes! Being verbs are all about just that being—being who we are.

“Doing” verbs are a lot of fun because they are the action of our life. They are, of course, the things we “do.” I run; I jump; I eat chocolate! You get the picture.

Next we add in the “helping” verbs. Not so simply put: a being or helping + a doing = a verb phrase; and a verb phrase helps to give us a much clearer picture of what we are trying to communicate. For example I can say, “I am writing a blog post now” versus “I write blog post now,” or “I not eat Dove chocolate,” versus “ I am not eating Dove chocolate right now! (But I kind of wish I was. . .)

Yet time and time again, my students will get their “beings” and their “doings” and their “helpings” confused.

Enter spiritual application. . . (Dramatic music inserted here)

We often get our “being” and our “doing” confused as well. We tend to be a little more Martha than Mary, a little more Peter than John. We get so caught up in “doing” for God that we forget all about just “being” who he has called us to be. Before we know it, we get caught up, roped in and burnt out because we have forgotten to add the “helping” of the Holy Spirit to our “being” and “doing.” But when we learn to put all the pieces together, we find that we are beginning to live in such a way that we give the world a clearer picture of what we are trying to communicate—that God loves them so much that He sent His only Son for them.

One of the best places I know to help ease pendulum swing of either being all “being” or all “doing, “ is in the book of Proverbs. In children’s ministry we call them PRO-VERBS–Sayings in the Bible that are both PRO (like famous, positive and excellent) and have VERBS (teaching us how to be, do and help). When we take a look in The Book, we can always see all kinds of ways that God is showing us how to be like Jesus, do what He wants and help others to know Him. And that that’s something to talk about!


One of my favorite Proverbs is in chapter 2 verses 1-8

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will undertand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.

Do you have a favorite Proverb? Post it below. . .

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