Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What’s My Bandwidth?

Bandwidth is a term used in computing, radio, and even mathematics. Three areas I know little about. What intrigues me about the term is how the computer industry uses it to define capacity and how our frustrations in life so often stem from us not recognizing our life’s capacity. In the computer world bandwidth measures the fluctuating amount of communication resources available, in other words…how much information can we send at any one time. Typically bandwidth is measured in kilobits or megabits per second. If you are confused, just ask your cable company. They will love to charge more for the bandwidth available to your internet connection at home. The larger the bandwidth, the quicker your internet connection and the more your cable bill will be.

Why do I care about bandwidth and internet connection speeds? More importantly, why should you? Here is my pastoral observation. One of the key frustraters in people’s lives is that they assume they can function at someone else’s bandwidth. That’s right. People have a capacity or a bandwidth. If you ask a mother with three active adolescents that need to get to eat dinner, go to soccer practice, and finish their homework all before 8:00 p.m. their bandwidth is never enough. Yet, we have all observed people who also never seem to come close to maxing out their bandwidth. Curious. One seems to need more. One is clearly not using what they have.

One of the greatest joys in life is discovering and embracing your God given bandwidth. When you do several joys will be uploaded in your spirit. First, you’ll know exactly when to ask for help. It will be clear that the task before you is outside your capabilities or your bandwidth available at that time. Learning to say “no” to good opportunities is one of the key disciplines of a peaceful life. Second, knowing your bandwidth will really free you up from the prison of comparison. Maybe you’re just not capable of what the person in the cubicle next you is. Are you OK with that?  I hope so. It was the Creator’s purview as to bandwidth He gives each us. As a pastor, I have had to conclude many times, “I can’t do what the pastor across the freeways does because I just don’t have the same bandwidth.” Humbling to recognize but yet freeing to experience.

One of the greatest senses of satisfaction in life is using your God-given bandwidth to its fullest. God has created us to do good works. In fact, the Bible clearly says that God created our capacities but He also has a plan for our bandwidth. Listen to Ephesians 2:10 (ESV), “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” God has prepared a list of good works for you to do. Some of what He may ask you today will be outside your bandwidth, but if God has asked you to do it then He will have to supply extra dose of bandwidth for you to get it done. Also, it does no good for you to try to do those good works on my God-given “good works to do list.” That’s just going to max out your bandwidth more quickly while leaving your list undone. Besides today…I like what’s on my list!

My hope today is that you embrace you bandwidth as you walk closely with Jesus.


  1. That's a timely reminder, Chico. What struck me most was your comment, "Learning to say “no” to good opportunities is one of the key disciplines of a peaceful life." I'd add the medicine for those who have struggled with misunderstanding bandwidth: "Come to Me, all you who are wearing and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Mt 11:28

  2. Glad you are blogging......I found out I have more "bandwidth" than I was aware of when I started blogging.
    Look forward to many more!