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The cards in this set can be used to play a cool life-like game, but their main purpose is as a tool to be used in teaching biblical stewardship and thankfulness. The foundational truth behind the set is that we are stewards of all that God has given us (Luke 12:48) and should be thankful for his gifts (Luke 17:15-16).


Each believer is a steward of spiritual gifts, but we each also have natural abilities in four areas that we are stewards of as well. God gives us physical abilities, material possessions, mental abilities, and social skills. The chart below shows how these things are depicted on the cards.

Life is unfair in the sense that we have received different “cards.” So we can not all excell equally, because some have natural advantages over others. God is fair, however, because he only holds us responsible for the gifts and abilities which we have receive, not for those that we lack. God is also fair because His work is not dependent on our natural abilities. He often uses the weak rather than the strong (Zech. 4:6).


The set of 4 cards below illustrate "near average" abilities or assets in four areas of life. The set of 9 cards illustrates "super high" abilities or assets in the same four areas. As the cards vary, so too do people: mentally, physically, materially, and socially. Yet, the important thing in life (and this game) is to use the gifts (cards) that we have been given. God gives each of us abilities to use for HIM and for others, not so that we can think that we are better than others or, in the opposite direction, so that we may feel sorry for ourselves because we have lesser gifts.
   The game is played much like UNO®; the winner often does not have the best / highest numbered cards.

PrintER-Ready Cards


A simple ways to teach the above points is to have two people receive a set of cards, face-up, one card at a time. The teacher, explains the meaning of the color and the number on each card and encourages discussion of personal abilities. Then after several cards are turned over, the group decides which of the two they think has “the better hand.” Group members will naturally choose the one who has cards with higher numbers. The teacher then points out that the random card distribution and inequality seems unfair, but goes on to show that in the "Life is Not Fair" game one wins by using or losing his cards rather than by keeping them, and everyone has an equal opportunity to win.
. . Additional instructions are on the "Basic Game & Counseling Instructions" sheet. Click the button below.


Thankfulness-focused option

A random colored card is passed to a person in the group and turned face up. With the group leader's help, the one receiving the card should express thankfulness to God in line with the area of life represented on the card. For instance, one who receives a RED card should give thanks for the measure of health that he or she enjoys. This can be done even if the person’s health is not great. (We should always be thankful, 1 Thes. 5:18). An older person who is far from being an olympic athlete, for instance, might laugh at randomly receiving a Red 9 card. Yet, he also might express thankfulness for excellent eyesight after cataract surgery. -- The group leader should have verses on being thankful prepared to share during the session.


Most of the same points can easily be taught using colored one-to-nine cards from the UNO ® game. The zero cards should not be used, because no living person is a zero in the areas of life represented by the four colors. The UNO ® wild cards also should not be used. -- Since many are already familiar with the UNO ® game, it may be helpful to teach using UNO ® before using the "Life is not fair, but. . . " set.

UNO ® option - detailed instructions

Character-study option

Let's take turns spinning the arrow and randomly discussing the financially situation (green), physically condition (red), social position (yellow), and God-given wisdom (blue) of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz! Four categories times three main characters = 12 important topics. -- This is an example of how to use the "Life Is Not Fair, but. . ." materials for character studies. This can be used in various Bible books, such as to discuss the main characters in Genesis or people in the life of David.

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© 2021 by Jon F. Mahar, Hakusan City, Japan