That title comes from the Associated Press. Here’s what happened. A man attempted to enter a California home through the chimney Saturday, but got stuck. When the homeowner lit a fire, the man began to scream, but the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office confirms they were unable to save him before he succumbed to the effects of fire and smoke. Apparently, the intruder crawled down the chimney late the night before and got stuck.
The homeowner tried to extinguish the flames, but couldn’t do it in time to save the man’s life. Firefighters had to dismantle the chimney to get the man out, but by then it was too late. But I love the title provided by AP. The man stuck in the chimney was only a “suspected” burglar. I guess that means it could have been an accident. Perhaps he was sleep walking when he fell down the chimney. Or he thought he was Santa Clause. Or he was a chimney cleaner. There could be any number of explanations for why the man was in the chimney of another man’s house. We don’t know he was a burglar, but we can certainly “suspect” it.
From this we learn two lessons. First, sin comes with a price. You get to pick your sin, but not your consequences. Sin never seeks to merely tease us; it is not content until we are stuck. You don’t bounce off a life of sin, you enter it. Sin will take you further than you want to go and keep you longer than you want to stay. Sin has a price.
Second, we tend to want what we shouldn’t have, but not want it once we have it. Remember a guy named David? He wanted Bathsheba, but it cost him his son’s life. He wanted her until he had her. Addiction is like that. It always satisfies, but not for very long.
In a few weeks, a portly old soul will be making his way down chimneys everywhere. If you’ve been good this year, leave the light on for him, not the fireplace. If you’ve been bad this year, it won’t matter. He isn’t coming to your house anyway. The Bible says to not covet your neighbor’s house. Stay out of his chimney. What you think you want isn’t worth it. You can go where you shouldn’t be, but when you think you can just move on, you will get stuck. And it will cost you more than you want to pay.