Vincent van Gogh sold only one painting in his entire lifetime. If it had not been for Theo, who not only encouraged him to paint, but sent money every month for him to live on (money that Theo himself could barely afford) Vincent would have starved to death.
So why did Theo invest in someone with so little promise and no visible potential? Did he spot talent no one else could see? Maybe. He was an art dealer, after all.
But there’s very little evidence that Theo saw the genius in Vincent’s work, while everyone else missed it. Mostly because there was little, if any, genius in Vincent’s work until decades of constant painting finally started to show itself on the canvas.
Theo simply loved his brother. So he supported him to do the only thing he was passionate about. Theo van Gogh literally invested his time, money, patience and loving support into someone that no one, including he, thought had any promise, any potential, or any possibility of producing anything of value.
Love Without Strings
As the body of Christ – and especially as pastors and church leaders – we can learn a lot from Theo van Gogh.
Love without strings, but with great sacrifice.
This is not a green light to engage in unhealthy relationships, but it is a plea to stop treating people like commodities.
There are no right people or wrong people. Just people, made in God’s image, who need someone who loves them enough to show them in tangible ways.
Invest In People
We need to invest in people, not because they might do something great some day, but because they’re made in God’s image, and that alone is worth investing in.
The people you and I invest in are not likely to become the next Vincent van Gogh (forget “not likely”, there will never be another van Gogh). But that’s not why we invest in people.
People are of greater value than what they produce. People simply matter.
The world will never see another Vincent van Gogh. But that’s okay. We only needed one.
But we can use all the Theo van Goghs we can get.
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