Mansion Over the Hill Top


By Ira Stanphil

Someday yonderI’m satisfied with just a cottage below
A little silver and a little gold
But in that city where the ransomed 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 some day yonder we will never more wander
But walk on streets that are purest gold

Though often tempted, tormented, and tested
And like the prophet my pillow’s a stone
And though I find here no permanent dwelling
I know He’ll give me a mansion my own

Don’t think me poor or deserted or lonely
I’m not discouraged I’m heaven bound
I’m but a pilgrim in search of the city
I want a mansion, a harp and a crown

I used to get ready for the day in a little town called Batoka some 30 kilometres away from Choma town on the way to Livingstone in Zambia. Our dad for some reason had literally left us to fend for ourselves. I lived with two of my young sisters Precious and Matildah but unfortunately Matildah went to be with the Lord some 6 years ago. Life was hard in those late 1970s. And as I thought that, the song I remember hearing from my childhood came to my mind.

I’ve got a MANSION, just over the hilltop

In that bright land where we’ll never grow old

And someday yonder, I’ll never more wander

But walk on streets that are purest gold

Like SO MANY OTHER things, this song SUDDENLY took on NEW meaning for me!  For even though I’m SAD that I can now reminisce  the  words of this song without my little sister, Matildah has WAY MORE than a little shack out back, she has a MANSION . . . she has a home that is more beautiful than any earthly home that she EVER DREAMED of here on earth!  The reality of my sometimes very lonely days is also the REALITY that SHE is walking on STREETS OF PUREST GOLD!!

The Story of the Song:

This song was written in 1949 by Ira F. Stanphill who was born on February 14, 1914. He was a very gifted musician.  By the age of 10 he was playing the piano, organ, ukulele, and the accordion.  He was singing and composing by the time he reached 17.  He participated in revival crusades, prayer meetings, and ten campaigns.  He graduated from the Junior College in Chillicothe, Missouri, and later was made an honorary Ph.D. from Hyles-Anderson College in Indiana.  He preached and sung all over America and 40 other countries.  He was inducted into the GMA Hall of Fame in 1981 and published his autobiography, This Side of Heaven, in 1983.

Ira Stanphil wrote over 550 gospel songs throughout his life. Rev. Stanphill departed this world on December 30, 1993 and is buried in Johnson County Chapel and Memorial Gardens in Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas

A story told by evangelist Bro. Gene Martin, who was preaching at Bethel Temple Assembly of God Church in Oak Cliff, Texas. Inspired the pastor, Rev. Albert Ott to make the suggestion to Bro. Stanphill to write a song about the mansion that waits for us over there in heaven and he immediately wrote the lyrics and sang the song that very night.  Unfortunately, Bro. Gene Martin was not present that night this favourite hymn was born.

This is the way his story was told.  One day a wealthy man facing bankruptcy took a drive through the rural part of the country. As he passed one particular house it caught his attention. It needed a paint job and repairs of all kinds. The broken window glasses were replaced with oil paper. Many shingles as well as part of the roof were missing which made him wonder how the house was even still standing. A young girl about the age of 8 or 9 and poorly dressed was playing in the front yard. The man was compelled to stop and talk to the young girl. In their conversation, he mentioned how sorry he was that she lived in such a poor surrounding. The little girl excitedly asked him, “Why haven’t you heard? My daddy just inherited a fortune and he’s building us a mansion just over that hill over there. Don’t know when it will be done, but I won’t have to live in this house forever.

Couple of comments from the song

Thoughts of Comfort:  I would like to speak a word of comfort today. It comes from John 14:1-6, where it says;
Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am there you may be also. And you know the way I am going. Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth and the life; no on comes to the Father, but through Me.

From this passage of scripture I find three thoughts of comfort.

The first is that peace is promised. Notice the words “Let not you heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me”. Yes, I know that today may be a day of sadness – a day of grief, a day of mourning, yet even in the midst of this you can have peace. Why? Because we have faith – we believe. We believe that even in the midst of the storm – even in the valley of the shadow of death there can be a peace that passes all understanding – because we know that God is with us. The 23rd Psalm says that too, doesn’t it. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” He is here. He is present. Believe in Him – Trust in Him and God will grant you his perfect peace.

The second thought of comfort is that God has prepared a place for us. Did you notice that in John 14, it says; “I go to prepare a place for you.” The Bible tells us that in six days God created the heavens the earth,but just think, Jesus has been preparing a place for us for two thousand years. What a place that must be. The verse tells us that it is The Father’s house and that there are many rooms. A room for _____, a room for you – a room for me. Isn’t that a comforting thought? God has prepared a place for us.

The next thought of comfort is that God has prepared a way for us to get there. Everyone wants to go to heaven, some just don’t know the way. But Jesus tells us in John 14 that, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” We are all travellers on a road called life. There are many detours and many side streets. We don’t need to be confused – we don’t need to be lost. All we need to do is follow Jesus. He will show us the way – in fact He is the way. He will lead us and He will guide us. That’s comforting.

That is what comes to mind in the song we are considering today. It is based on John 14.

 

 

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