The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Winning at the Game of Life

Posted by iusbvision on August 27, 2007

Someone long ago coined the philosophical phrase “You have to play the hand you are dealt.” Each card in the hand, of course, represents the circumstances that cross the individual’s path. It implies a man who is dealt a four of a kind will have far less trouble living than the man with a muck hand.  Furthermore, it is easier for the man with four of a kind to tell the other man, “Well my boy, you simply have to play the hand you are dealt” because he is sitting comfortably knowing the odds are on his side. One sees this often when a wealthy man tells a poor man, “You have to work hard and you will achieve what I have achieved.”   Undoubtedly what the wealthy man says has truth to it, but it does not take into consideration the initial hand dealt to him as opposed to the poor man. 

Playing with a hand that is dealt takes the circumstances of life into the stream of a game, “In the game of life… you have to play the hand you are dealt.”  One must not forget in a game there are winners and losers. The losers are the ones with the least powerful hand. If one is dealt a weak hand and another a strong hand, then with the exception of bluffing or acting as if one has a better hand than the other, the man with the stronger will win. But in the game of life what are they winning? If they are winning the pot, then they will have gained more than the one with the weaker hand. Yet time has shown the man who wins the pot often does not ultimately come out the “winner” amidst all circumstances. 

Let us pretend for a moment that the hand that is dealt does not matter in the game of life. In the game of life, there are no winners and losers; there are only countless individuals with unique hands that compromise their existence. Although their hands can be used periodically in the world, the goal is not to win the game, because winning has historically not benefitted the player in the long run. Even the individuals with the best hands do not end up happy. What, then, is one to do?  The purpose of playing a game of cards is to win, but if winning does not equate to happiness, then the cards simply do not matter. If the cards do not matter then circumstances do not matter.  The man with the weaker hand can tell the man with the stronger hand, “You may have better cards, but in the game of life, that will not help you win, because a better hand has rarely given the upper edge to happiness.”

Christianity suggests all circumstances placed in an individual’s life have a purpose behind them. The hand one is dealt has been designed to exemplify and develop the player.  If this is the case, one should not  simply “live with the hand [they] are dealt”. They should use their hand to exemplify and develop themselves into the player they were meant to be. 

When one is graced with accepting their trials and tribulations as an opportunity to develop them into a better person or a better Christian, their hand becomes something far more meaningful and beneficial. It is no longer just a means to win the game. In my life, it has been pleasant to witness the man with the weaker hand find happiness and joy without the need of a royal flush.  

Craig Chamberlin

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