The famous hymn writer Ira Sankey was once visiting someone living in the slums. When he was done and was on his walk home, he got to talk to a little girl who was sitting on the steps of a dilapidated shack.
“Are you living here?” Sankey asked her.
“I do,” the girl answered with a happy smile, “It’s not very nice here, but my father is building a new house for us over the hills.”|
A new house over the hills? A beautiful thought came to Ira as he realized that on this earth we all live in the slums, spiritually speaking, but soon we too will move to our new house, just over the hills. The conversation served as the inspiration for one of Ira’s famous hymns, “I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop.”
“I’m satisfied with just a cottage here below,
A little silver and a little gold.
But in that city where the ransom will shine,
I want a gold one that’s silver lined.
I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop,
In that bright land where we’ll never grow old,
And someday yonder, we’ll never more wander,
But walk the streets that are the purest gold.
Don’t think me poor, or deserted, lonely;
I’m not discouraged, I’m Heaven bound!
I’m just a pilgrim in search of a City,
I want a mansion, a harp, and a crown!”
What a privilege to know that Jesus has gone on before us to prepare us a mansion just over the hill, on the other side.
Still, that time has not yet come and we will have to make the best of it while still here.
But the problem is that we often forget that our future is not here on earth, but lies over the hills.
There is nothing wrong with a beautiful house on this earth with a luscious garden, but we should not forget that our earthly pleasures are only good for a season, and will soon come to naught. What kind of a house we are going to get when we get to the other side is still a mystery, but we do well to prepare for it.
The Bible talks about it in several places.
In John 14 Jesus said: “In My Father’s house are many mansions, and I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, you may be also.” The house that Jesus is building is no doubt a whole lot better than our earthly dwelling. In that house we do not need a heating system, there’s no need for repairs and the landlord will not demand any rent.
That house will be perfect.
The only problem is that you have to die in order to get there.
Death is a whole subject in itself and not the most favorite subject of most people, and we prefer to push the thoughts about it out of our mind and somehow seem to think that death, miraculously and mercifully, will visit everybody else, but will skip us.
It most certainly is not God’s will for us to be burdened by worries and cares about death and even the Bible has something to say about it, linking the power of Satan directly to dying.
That through (His) death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
By His death, Jesus paved the way for us to get a mansion in Heaven, and because we will all end up at the river sooner or later, it is good to prepare as best as we can.
One way in which we can do that is by gathering heavenly treasures while on earth, rather than to be solely focused on the material blessings this earth has to offer.
No earthly treasure is a guarantee for a heavenly treasure.
How much we trust in our earthly treasures compared to our heavenly treasures becomes clear when trouble knocks on our heart’s door and our lives and our works get tested.
Paul talks about it in 1 Corinthians 3:11. He says, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.”
It is a sobering thought that our works will be tested. and if our treasure and what we live for cannot stand the fires of Heaven we will have only a little treasure in Heaven. Famous cricketer C.T. Studd who turned missionary said it well in his famous quote:
One life, ‘twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last
What do we live for? Where is our treasure? God doesn’t want us to cross this earth as poor as a church mouse, but if we get so caught up in the material desires of the world that we lose sight of the goal and our heavenly destination we will have a surprise waiting for us when we get to the mansion on the other side of the hill.
Not too long ago there was an interview with a famous athlete on television whose house had burned down and he stood in front of the camera, lamenting the loss of all his prizes.
“I had wanted to give all my prizes to my grandchildren, but now they are gone,” he sniffed. “It just isn’t fair.”
Fair or not, but that’s what you get in this unstable world.
We can leave a much better inheritance for our grandchildren, one that helps us to store up treasures in heaven.
The love we show our fellow man has lasting value. That helps to build our treasure on the other side. What kind of treasure do you carry?