My Golden Lab, Curly, is not allowed out of the kitchen without being called; she knows this and if she crosses the threshold on her own, she is in for a severe tongue lashing and denial of her daily treat.

The evening after she had her hysterectomy, I awoke to find her not only out of the kitchen, but in my bed frantically trying to climb up on my head! She took her own head in her paws daring to violate my most sacred rule. I'm sure she was thinking, "I need help, if I get yelled at, I get yelled at."

My bellow of protest stopped at my throat when I realized she was in distress. She was hurting, whimpering and came to me for help. So I reassured her, gave her some pain meds and moved over to make room for her.

On a much larger scale, but along the same lines of grace and mercy, in the Book of Esther, anyone who went into the inner court to the king, who had not been called, by law must be put to death unless he would make an exception on the spot, even including his beautiful Queen Esther. But an evil man was plotting to kill a lot of innocent people; she was the only one who could intercede with the king in the situation, so she violated this most basic of the king's commands and went in to see him for help without being summoned saying, "If I die, I die."

Sometime you might be the 'king' and someone might come to you for help; what will you do? Tell them you'll pray for them and go on your way? Or will you get out of your comfort zone and extend a hand? It might be a beautiful young lady asking for help with a flat tire, or a cute little puppy lost and scared; no problem, but what if it's your unlovable neighbor uncharacteristically asking you for help?

Learn a lesson from the good Samaritan: this businessman put his agenda on hold - we're way too busy to do that; he stopped in a bad neighborhood ... that eliminated my help-the-needy instincts right there; he picked up a man who had been mugged and placed this poor bleeding man on his top-of-the line donkey with the pricey horse blanket. Not sure I'd want somebody bleeding in my car with the nice upholstery - would you? And then he took him to a local motel and paid for his room.

Amazing grace that saved wretches like us - we once were lost and now we're found because a man forgave us for breaking the rules; like Esther, Jesus lived in submission, dependence and obedience to His Father not minding if things got a little messy helping us. We should do likewise.

Richie Colbeth is the chaplain of Cowboy Chapel.

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