From the very first day that I became a Christian and started to attend church, I was taught to take sermon notes. No one sat me down and told me to take notes. I just noticed that very often the people I most respected in the faith were note takers. So I started to take notes. For awhile I took them on backs of bulletins and on random pieces of paper.
At some point in my Christian walk, I heard a lady say that she always had a pen and paper ready whenever she was in church or prayer. She did this because she felt that if we were interested enough to write down what God had to say, He'd probably be more apt to say something that He wanted us to remember.
For a long time, I took the notes but I didn't do anything with them after I took them. Then I started storing them in a 3-ring binder according to subject for future reference.
About 5 years ago, I got real intentional about keeping my sermon notes. At the beginning of each year, I bought a notebook that would hold the years sermon notes, so I have 5 binders of organized sermon notes on my bookshelf, all neat and tidy.
Last week, I spent some time organizing my bookcases. I came across nearly 27 years worth of sermon notes. So one morning when I was feeling lazy, I sat down and began to read through the sermon notes I had taken in the last 3 years. Some of it no longer made sense because I had forgotten the context in which it had been said (poor note taking), but a lot of it blessed me all over again! And frankly, a lot of it convicted me because I could not honestly say that I had heeded what had been preached enough to be able to see a difference in my life. That's probably because I did not follow up on what I heard.
Jesus always followed up on what He taught with his disciples later. He would tell a parable, purposely trying to confuse the listener because He would not cast pearls before swine. Then later he would gather his disciples around him and would explain to them what he had meant. It was during this time of intimate conversation that what he had preached really began to make sense to them on a personal level.
There is a great lesson in this example for me. It's good that I write down what the messenger of God says each week. I do glean truths from what I hear as I sit and write, but the true gleaning, the real impartation comes in the days following as I take those notes to Christ and allow him, through the Holy Spirit, to explain to me what he meant and how it applies to me on personal level. It is in that place that the true impartation of spiritual truth occurs.
If I am blessed with the gift of a Godly Pastor who is student of the Word and a man of prayer, I am under obligation to appreciate this gift from God to me. How better can I show God my appreciation than by making an effort to hear, remember, and do all that God has told him to say to me?