These two verses show us a beautiful picture of church body life. I've been thinking a lot about them over the past few days.
Instead of spiritual immaturity, Paul desires that the church become mature in Christ. This passage makes clear that we do this together. We build one another up instead of building ourselves up.
The above word-picture of the church as a body makes this clear. The body needs every part to be working correctly. This is extremely significant. All parts of the body must be functioning the way the Lord would have them function. This implies that all parts must be actively involved in body life. All are important.
If some parts of the body are doing the vast majority of the work (80% doing 20%), then there is a problem. The problem may be with the 80% or it may be with the 20%. Either way, the church is out of balance when this occurs and this, therefore, impairs the spiritual growth of the church as a whole.
We are not "Lone Ranger Christians." Our own spiritual growth depends at least in part on the healthy functioning of our church body. As the whole grows, we as individuals grow. We are impaired from growing (at least as much as we could) if our church family is not working effectively together.
So what can we do? Let's encourage those who are doing most of the edifying to step back a bit. Let's also encourage those who are more passive to get more involved and try to find opportunities for them to do so. Let's emphasize in the life of the church that we all need each other.
Let's try to find the planks in our own eyes, and then lovingly confront specks in others' eyes.
Let's make it our goal that our church families grow up together into Jesus Christ, who is the head of the church. We do this most effectively and obediently when we all work together in a fully functioning, healthy church family.