True Riches

Written by Brian Shepler, President and COO of Blue Trust

As we embark on a new year, a wide range of opinions prevail on what is in store for the economy in 2024. Consider the following summaries from several of the leading global economists and prognosticators:

“The global economy will perform better than many expect in 2024.” (Goldman Sachs 2024 Macro Outlook)

“While we could see a growth slowdown in the first half of 2024, growth should resume in the second half of the year. We place the probability of a deep recession at 25%.”  (JP Morgan Outlook 2024)

“The year ahead will see the US edge into mild recession during the first half while the Eurozone languishes in a period of stagflation already underway.”  (Deutsche Bank 2024 Outlook: The Race Against Time)

“Lower inflation around the globe should allow Central Banks to cut rates, while US Equities may reach a record level of 5000 on the S&P 500 Index by year-end.” (Bank of America 2024 Outlook)

“Higher rates and greater volatility define the new regime. Central banks face tougher trade-offs in fighting inflation, leading to a wider set of outcomes, creating greater uncertainty for central banks and investors.”  (Blackrock 2024 Outlook)

“The world faces a multitude of interconnected crises – a spiraling climate emergency and the collapse of natural ecosystems, increased fragility and lack of trust in the global order, an uneven economic recovery, geopolitical instability, and conflict.”  (World Economic Forum 2024 Outlook)

Fascinating, isn’t it? There doesn’t seem to be much consensus among the sources many turn to for economic clarity and direction. In seasons like this, I am reminded of two of Blue Trust’s core investment principles: the Principle of Applied Wisdom and the Principle of Uncertainty. These two principles reinforce that the world is uncertain but not chaotic, and the future is uncertain, making it futile to attempt to predict what tomorrow holds. Far from resigning to a position of hopelessness or fear of what calamities may arise, we as believers confidently “rejoice in hope” (Romans 12:12) and hold fast to the truth that God is sovereignly in control of all that concerns us!

Our leadership theme at Blue Trust for 2024 is “True Riches,” a reference to our firm’s guiding scripture, 1 Timothy 6:17-19.  In that passage, Paul charges Timothy to “instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” The trade-offs are clear – placing our hope in God versus uncertain riches, doing good and being generous versus using wealth to serve ourselves, and storing up a future foundation versus amassing temporal riches in this life.

What a wonderful privilege we enjoy at Blue Trust to embrace Paul’s same charge to Timothy in our daily work with individuals, families, and Kingdom-focused organizations. We can’t pretend to know what tomorrow brings, but we can apply wisdom as we instruct those we serve to pursue the true riches God offers them.

My prayer for you and all of our team members at Blue Trust is the same prayer Paul had for the church in Rome: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

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