I was an eighteen year-old freshman when I first met Dr. Charles V. Weber in the summer of 1945. He delivered a popular series he called, “Living Out of the Overflow." He gave his series some fifty times across the Church of God. Following is the first of three lectures he delivered at South Meridian Church of God, Anderson, IN, the summer WWII ended. I never forgot Charles Weber. He had a profound impact on this young, first-year student away from home. Charles died years later in San Diego but his widow still lives there.
Chapter One -- LIVING OUT OF THE OVERFLOW…
There is something about this age that has the tendency toward setting up tensions in individuals. Perhaps it is the unconscious struggle of the idealistic within man against the evil and error of modern society that results in this tension. It is more likely to be the struggle between the conscious and unconscious within man causing a wasted energy and setting up destructive tensions.
Part of it is caused by the rush and hurry of these pressing times. Many who have become victims of these times allow a greater emptiness to grow through living which crowds out prayer, meditation, relaxation and religious reading.
At any rate, through one cause or another, we find a lot of people who are worn and tired from endless struggle and fruitless effort. If effort were the standard of judging, their rating would be excellent. But they know they have failed and many of them are discouraged with their failure.
There has been hidden from them the secret which will bring victory and the sense of abundance to their lives.
In fact, it was hidden from me for years. I was a Christian and I suppose a successful minister, but I was struggling. Gifted with a great deal of condemnation, I struggled until I faced the discouraging future with a broken body and consider-able suffering.
It was not altogether my fault that I was living by struggle, because it is definitely the spirit of the age. In Bible College and in my home church, I was not taught about what God could do, but rather what man had to do. Like most young fellows, I formed habit patterns conforming to the molding influence of those days.
This age has been characterized by the trait of limiting God and giving surprising credit to man for what he can do. The struggle, which is so common today, is the direct result of that idea. When you minimize the work that God can do, and exalt the work that man must do, you cut off the help that God would give and leave man to struggle alone.
When my youngest boy was still too young to tie his own shoe laces; he got the idea that he should do it himself. He insisted we leave him alone and he would tie them. With great struggle and much grunting, he worked for perhaps ten minutes. Finally he gave up and asked me to do it for him.
The Father looks upon us with endless patience as we insist in doing things ourselves and in our own way. We struggle when it would be so easy for God, but He lets us struggle if we insist. What a different life it would be if we sought God’s help.
THE GIFT OF GOD
In John 4:10 Jesus said, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and He would have given thee living water” (emphasis added).
I realize there is a certain kind of effort necessary for the development of the personality and to make us responsible individuals. To refuse to make the effort in the proper place is a sign of indolence and weakness. It is important, however, that we clarify what that effort is and where it belongs, or we may find our energy wasted and failure as a result.
“If thou knewest the gift of God.” There is a gift from God. It does not come through struggle or expenditure of human effort. It is not a human attainment; it is the free gift of God, which He bestows upon us. (It is) The human essential is our hunger for it and our desire to receive it.
Paul says in Romans 6:23, “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (emphasis added). The Word says of Christ, that “In Him was life and the life was the light of men”; and Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.”
There is no doubt but that the primary purpose for Christ’s coming into the world was to give life. All the other things, His sacrifice and death, His resurrection and His ascension, which were events in the ministry of Christ, had to be so that eternal life could be given to men. The GIFT OF GOD is eternal life.
MEN WANT LIFE
Most of the struggle that is a part of modern life is an attempt to realize a fuller life. There is a feeling that life is not what it was intended to be and a great effort is made to correct the trouble.
What man has struggled so hard to attain, but so frequently has failed to discover, is the same thing God wants to give as a free gift.
If you knew the gift of God you wouldn’t continue to be defeated, but would ask of Him and He would give you living water.
You notice that the gift of God, which is eternal life, is figuratively expressed as living water. The word living indicates the idea of a perpetual flow like a living spring or fountain. The gift of God is a stream flowing from the heart of God to the heart of man, and it is redemptive and creative.
The prophet speaking of the coming of Christ in Isaiah 60:5 says, “Thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee.” Also in Isaiah 35, he speaks of “streams in the desert.” This same idea of living water is shown in these prophecies. They teach that an inexhaustible supply of God’s grace is ours. God will turn into our lives the stream of His redemptive love.
The wonderful part is that it is given to us as a free gift without any effort on our part. Whatever our part may be is in what we do with the gift after we receive it.
This gift of God includes forgiveness for our sins, eternal life, strength for temptation, and the love of God. The supply is unlimited. Everyone can have as much as he needs. You can draw upon the source freely and need never live under the crush of defeat any more.
We cannot stop at this point though because God wants us to live with an overflow. Through the gift of God we receive freely and now there must be a release.
In Acts 2:38 it speaks about the gift of the Holy Spirit, and in John7:38-39 it says, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”)
The gift of God is the inflow of his unlimited resources as a stream of living water. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the releasing of those resources for service in the out-flow of rivers of living water. Man becomes the channel of God for His redemptive work.
Man’s task is not struggle for attainment, but it is surrender for creative expression. Life does not begin with man, it begins with God. It does not end with man; it flows out to bless the people and give them life. Man becomes the channel through which God blesses the world. That is living out of the overflow.
A life like that is happy, full and creative. It is so satisfying that the need for struggle seems to disappear. A man feels that God is expressing himself in him as he goes about his regular tasks. There is no need to worry. It is not hard to share because he merely shares what God has done for him.
When a person once experiences the abundant life, he is satisfied not to sit down and quit but to launch out and live. He finds it to be a life of thrill and adventure.
Every one of you can live out of the overflow and know for yourself what I say is the truth.
From Warner’s World at walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com