‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain.’ Psalm 127:1 NRSV
When your skill level is high but the challenge of the task is too low, you experience boredom. When your skill level is low and the challenge of the task is too high, you experience frustration and anxiety. But when the level of the challenge matches the level of your skills – then you’re ‘in the flow’. We don’t work mainly for money, recognition, promotion, applause, or fame. We work for flow. We live for flow. We hunger for flow, and when it’s present, something happens in our spirit as we connect with a reality beyond ourselves and partner with God. This is why the psalmist says, ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain.’ Flow is part of what we experience in that partnership and, in that, God in turn uses flow to shape us. Bezalel experienced flow when he carved wood, David when he played the harp, Samson when he used his strength, Paul when he wrote a brilliant letter, Daniel when he ran a government, and Adam when he gardened. If other people report to you, one of the great spiritual acts of service you can perform is to ask whether they’re experiencing flow in their work, and help them experience it even more. When you’re working in the flow of service to God, when you’re experiencing flow in activities that enhance and bless the lives of others – you’re working ‘in the Spirit’. Paul was in the flow when he described himself as ‘poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything’ (2 Corinthians 6:10 NIV 2011 Edition).