Do you take notes when someone is teaching you the scriptures? If you do, chances are you retain more than those who do not. In fact, I believe 90% of people who do not take notes on Sunday morning forget everything they have heard by Wednesday morning. If my calculations are correct, Sunday morning was mostly a waste of time for those who did not bother to write something down.
Jesus told us this would happen in Luke 8 when he described the four types of soil that represent the common conditions of the human heart. The path, the rock, the thorns and the good soil are all mentioned. The seeds that fell on the good soil are the only ones that produced a lasting harvest. Notice what is said in verse 15.
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a good crop.”
Luke did not underline the two words above, but they certainly jumped off the page at me recently. The Message Bible says “who seize the word and hold on no matter what.” I have heard some amazing insight that I have not written down and I am certain I have forgotten most of it. Good seed had been sown, but I did not seize it and hold on no matter what. What can we all do to make sure the seeds that are being sown fall on the good soil of our hearts and produce a crop?
1. Write down two or three big ideas from every teaching you hear and have a conversation with someone about them within 48 hours.
2. If you use your iphone to take notes, like I sometimes do, don’t check your email or text someone during the talk. Take notes only and do not play paper toss. 🙂
3. If you are speaking and the big ideas are not evident, then use simpler language and better illustrations to make them clear to everyone.
4. If you have access to decent AV equipment, put the big ideas on the screen long enough for everyone to write them down.
5. Hand out notes to people before the talk and have pens or pencils available. Even if you hand out blank sheets of paper, you are encouraging people to take notes.
The word disciple means “learner” and learners take notes. Even if we do not agree with what is said, at least the talk will spark some interesting conversation that might lead us to deeper truth. Let’s not sit in the crowd with our arms folded assuming that we will remember everything that is being said. Let’s hear the word, retain the word and by persevering produce a good crop.