Beyond Mauck & Baker: John Mauck
John Mauck has been "on a mission from God" ever since becoming a follower of Jesus. How does his mission take shape and what is he hoping to achieve through his work at and away from the office? Learn more about the faith and character of one of our founding partners and integral member of Mauck & Baker in this Q&A.
Q: Many of those who have been to the Mauck & Baker offices may have seen and taken a button pin that says “On a Mission from God.” We consider this one of the slogans for our firm—what does it mean to you?
JWM: It means John Belushi and I drink the same tea.
Q: How do you view your calling as a lawyer and how does this calling manifest beyond your work at Mauck & Baker?
JWM: When I started practice in my twenties it was my primary way to serve Jesus. As I have reached my seventies I see it more as incidental: my core purpose is to serve God and law, family, how I live with all others, as well as advising legally, are all component of the larger calling summarized in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whenever you eat, drink, [appeal to the Seventh Circuit] or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Q: Can you tell us about instances where you’ve helped serve your own community?
JWM: Your question prompts me to think of the many communities I am or have been a part of: Highland Park High School, the football team, Yale, my circle of friends in law school, North Shore Assembly of God, the Jesus People, Jews for Jesus, Tenney & Bentley, Mauck, Bellande & Cheely, Mauck & Baker, CLUB.Christian Businessmen’s Committee, Christian Legal Society, the Standard Club, First Presbyterian Church, of course family (present and departed), so many clients, friends and neighbors, Evanston, Chicago and the world to name a few. In each community my role varied: learner/leader/follower/supporter. My best contributions have come as I’ve found and done my part. Early in my adult journey I decided to support two gifted followers of Messiah Jesus: Jhan Moskowitz, who taught a weekly Bible Study at our law firms and which has gone on for 40 years, and Dan Gruber who has allowed me to assist in about a dozen books he has written explaining the Jewishness of Jesus. So helping these men resulted---I firmly believe---in God giving me ways to serve countless others by originating RLUIPA and writing Paul on Trial and Jesus in the Courtroom.
Q: Do you see serving your community in this way as a reflection of your faith? How?
JWM: Yes. When God is behind something it bears fruit “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127
Q: How has this involvement enriched your own life?
JWM: The legal practice, the communities, and often the trials have combined to enable me to better understand why I was put on earth and to get to know Him who put me here. One of my favorite verses: Proverbs 4:18, “the path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, growing ever brighter until the fullness of day.”
Q: Can you discuss one of you most memorable moments while “on mission”?
JWM: The night I, as an adult, committed my life to serving God I followed with a prayer like this: “Jesus, right now I believe you’re here and have come back into my life. But tomorrow I may feel differently. So I can be assured this feeling is real, I need you to show me you can use me as a lawyer. I’ve only been practicing about a year and think real estate law may be what I should do. But I have no clients or client prospects. Tomorrow please send me a client and so I know you’re hearing me let it be someone who has a real estate need and is serving you.
The next day Cecil Shrock called me. He had just driven up to Chicago from Leslie Arkansas to find a big city attorney because he thought his problem was too complex for lawyers in his area. He said, “Mr. Mauck, my wife and I homesteaded 400 acres near Valdez Alaska. After we got the title, oil was found in Northern Alaska. Because the oil transporters wanted to build a pipeline nearby, our land became very valuable. We sold the land to a developer and have been holding a mortgage for $600,000. However the Alaskan developer resold the property along with our mortgage to a Hawaiian developer who has stopped making the monthly payments and filed for bankruptcy. Can you help us?”
While I listened in amazement and felt gratitude about the apparent answer to prayer, I also relished the juiciness of getting through or around the Hawaiian bankruptcy proceeding, then if need be, pushing the Alaskan default into foreclosure and getting my new client paid off, arranging for resumption of payments or restored to his land. And yes, I also relished the prospect of my first significant fee. I asked Mr. Shrock to come in with his papers. As I was ending the phone interview he said, "Mr. Mauck before you hang up I must tell you why it is important to take this case. I and everything I have belong to Jesus Christ. My wife and I run a small Bible school in Leslie. We depend on those monthly payments so we can continue to teach the Word of God.”
We got the Shrocks the money they were due, but I also got a lesson in knowing that the God who created billions of people and trillions of stars cared about a young lawyer’s prayer and career.