Have you watched the Mandalorian, the latest series in the Star Wars mythology? Like many people over the holidays, I became captivated by the Mandalorian story. What can the Mandalorian teach us about a job, a vocation, and a calling?
Working a J-O-B
As the series opens, we learn that the Mandalorian is a bounty hunter. This is a job he does very well. It is the classic definition of a job: doing something in return for being paid. Have you ever worked for a paycheck, but did not necessarily feel fulfilled by the work, even if you were good at it? This appears to be the Mandalorian’s situation. He is working a J-O-B.
In the course of tracking a high profile and very lucrative bounty, we learn more about how the Mandalorian became a Mandalorian. It’s not only the name of the main character of the series, it is a specialized sect in this Star Wars world—one that has covenants, community, and sacred rules to live by. If you have ever participated in the life of a religious community or church, you will recognize some of the parallels. We might say that being a Mandalorian is his vocation.
Embracing a Call
The word vocation derives from Latin, vocatio, meaning “a call or summons.” In the Christian tradition, we often think in terms of a call coming from God through the Holy Spirit. While we have hints throughout Season 1, we don’t know exactly how the Mandalorian receives his “call” to become part of the Mandalorian sect. We do know that being a Mandalorian sets him up for his calling in life. How can our professed beliefs and lifestyles intersect with our working lives allowing us to move from a job to a vocation and a calling?
If you have read this far but haven’t seen the Mandalorian series, here is where I tell you to stop reading if you don’t want the series spoilers.
The Mandalorian evolves from the bounty hunter paid to deliver Baby Yoda into the man who realizes his calling is to protect Baby Yoda from the evil forces that are aligned to harm him. In each episode, we see the Mandalorian reluctantly embrace his call more fully. It is tentative at first. He must decide whether he will protect Baby Yoda and the unknown future that his decision entails or to align with the world that wants Baby Yoda for its own nefarious purposes. In the final episode, we only know that the Mandalorian is fully committed to his calling of caring for Baby Yoda. The Mandalorian doesn’t know—and neither do we—how this decision will ultimately turn out for him or Baby Yoda. He just takes the next faithful step in embracing his call.
One faithful step at a time
When we embrace our God-given call in life, we rarely know where the journey will take us. Often when we are faced with decisions about a job, a vocation or a calling, we want to know the whole picture, the end game. Unfortunately, we rarely get that information. Like the Mandalorian, we need to take the next faithful step in our journey.