Casting Crowns has come out with yet another masterpiece in their song City on the Hill. Check it out here and pay particular attention to the lyrics.
This is one of the big passions God has laid on my heart. We are all gifted by God to do something and that is awesome. Think about it, the God of the universe created you on purpose, for a purpose, too be part of His plan for the universe. What could be better than knowing that and living it out?
But there are two problems with this. The first comes in comparison. I don’t want to spend a lot of time here, except to say that when we compare our gifts to others, we usually end up either in pride or feeling defeated and neither of those is what God intended.
The second problem is when we over or under appreciate the importance of our gifts. I might look at what I do and say it’s much more important than what you do or I could go in pretty much the opposite direction and again neither of those are appropriate.
The lyrics of the song show the problem this way:
“You see, the poets thought the dancer were shallow
And the soldiers thought the poets were weak
And the elders saw the young ones as foolish
And the rich man never heard the poor man speak”
What happens because of this?
And one by one, they ran away
With their made up minds, to leave it all behind
And the light began to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hill
You see God didn’t gift us to divide us. He didn’t give me my gifts so I could outshine you, or vice versa. What God intended for our gifts is that they be used together in community. I do what I do and you do what you do and the sum total of our efforts is greater than either of us could do on our own. When we shine together we shine brighter than we do on our own.
The lyrics say it this way:
“Each one thought that they knew better
but they were different by design…”
This is what the Bible means when it talks about the church being the Body of Christ. All the parts are important. You might think your hand is more important than your elbow but good luck getting your hand where it needs to be without your elbow. We are all needed, every last one of us and every last one of us needs to be functioning in our own gift and together with others if we want to be the shining city on the hill Jesus told us we were.
“And it was the rhythm of the dancers, that gave the poets life
It was the spirit of the poets, that gave the soldiers strength to fight
It was the fire of the young ones, it was the wisdom of the old
It was the story of the poor man that needed to be told…”
The point we need each other so let’s shine together.
Here’s what Mark Hall has to say about his song.