I have preached about today’s parable for twenty years, and for the past twenty years I have gotten it exactly wrong. I have preached variations on one message: if we want to experience Paradise, we must change the way we treat people like Lazarus. This message is exactly wrong. The rich man was condemned not because he failed to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked; the rich man found himself in hell because he never realized that he was as impoverished as Lazarus was. He believed that he had everything he needed; therefore, he never realized that he needed God. Lazarus enters the Kingdom of God because he knows he has nothing, he is nothing, and he can do nothing without God.