We all want to be a part of something special but sometimes we want to be a special part of something. Did you catch the subtle difference? The invite into God's Kingdom is an invite for each of us to be a part of something very special. Let's go back to Matthew/Levi's invite:
Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him. (Mark 2:13-14 NLT)
Now, I think there is zero doubt that Matthew recognized that Jesus was building a Kingdom that was very special. He left everything to be a part of it. I do not think that Matthew had many thoughts that Jesus could have possibly called Him because of His 'specialness'. Years of being looked at as 'scum' probably had him feeling lower than a snake's belly.
But what about the other disciples that Jesus had already called? Could they have thought they had been added to The Kingdom for their own 'specialness'...their great fishing abilities...etc.? What might they thought about the 'exclusiveness' of the Kingdom once this tax collector joined the 'inner circle'.
Also, keep in mind that Levi was a tax collector in the same village that these men were from (they were mostly fishermen). They had probably had to go to his booth and pay tribute to Caesar. If Levi had been un-ethical and skimmed (as many of them did) just think the taste that left in their mouth. Now he was being given entrance into Jesus' band just the same. It could be that these guys would have to come face to face with some forgiveness issues to continue.
Here's the deal. God does make us each unique and special. However, God does not choose us for His Kingdom based upon our 'specialness'. We are chosen for the Kingdom of God because of its 'specialness'. God's Kingdom is for all who call upon Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. So, yes, it is exclusive but not the way we might think.
Aren't you glad that God offers you entrance into His Kingdom based upon the qualities of Jesus rather than on your own qualities?
Isn't it cool to be a part of something so unique? That is worth celebrating.
Maybe you have never been included in the cool clubs or the special groups. Maybe you have always wanted to be a 'special' part of something. Today, trade that in to be a part of 'something special'. God's Kingdom is for you. All you must do to enter it is:
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-10, 13 NLT)