It’s a living, breathing thing. It is fully dependent on you, yet…has a life of its own. It can precede you into new territory, and come along after you’ve left the building. In fact, reputation will outlive you. It is something you have little control over, on the one hand, but total control over, on the other.
People are watching you. Even when you don’t realize it, they’re watching.
Based on what they see and surmise about your character – how you handle disappointment and conflict, how honest you are, how intelligent and hard-working – they will either work to open doors for you, or they will not.
“Even a child is known by his actions,” Proverbs 20:11.
This is critically important in light of a career because you have personal dreams and goals. You will never achieve those dreams and goals without the help of others.
When wealthy Boaz, in the book of Ruth in the Old Testament of the Bible, looked out over his fields and spotted a woman gleaning, he turned to the foreman and said, “Who is that?”
This kind of a moment happens every day. It is a question we’ve all asked about someone, and it is a question we’ve probably had asked about us.
Boaz could tell a few things about her just because she was out there. She was coming along behind the workers, picking up the leftovers. That’s what the poor of the community did so they could eat.
The foreman said, “That’s Ruth…from Moab…Naomi’s daughter-in-law.” To which Boaz replied, “Oh yeah…heard of her.” It was all over Bethlehem what she – a foreigner – had done for her mother-in-law.
Ruth had told Naomi back in Moab, “I am not leaving you. Where you go is where I go. Your people will be my people. Your god will be my god. Where you die and are buried, that’s where I’ll die and be buried.” And she meant it. They knew she meant it because she was living it out. In fact, she was out there in that field on Naomi’s good advice.
“I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law,” Ruth 2:11.
The beautiful expression of Ruth’s devotion to Naomi had surely been told over and over at social gatherings. The story of Ruth had traveled quietly around and landed upon Boaz’s ears. He had a good impression of her on name recognition alone.
“All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character,” Ruth 3:11.
Because of this favorable impression that stemmed from Ruth’s everyday actions, Boaz felt protective of Ruth. He eventually married her, and they were the great grandparents of King David.
Of only four women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ in Matthew (besides Mary), Ruth is one.
Reputation comes from character. Character is the expression of who you really are, on the inside. And everyone can see it every time they are around you.
Ruth did not, I believe, say to herself, “If I am good to Naomi, it will lead to me being a woman of earthly wealth and add me to the lineage of the Savior.”
She was just being herself and the good things came.