Jeanne Boren, “The Lord’s Suburban,” Religious Educator 7, no. 2 (2006): 125–126.
Jeanne Boren was serving with her husband, who was mission president of the New York New York North Mission when this was written.
The original Lord's Suburban. Courtesy of Jeanne Boren.
Years ago I attended a BYU Education Week class in the Wilkinson Center ballroom. I do not remember the presenter, but the room was packed. During his presentation, he asked how many of us owned a Suburban. A thousand hands must have gone up. He then presented a concept that absolutely freed my mind and spirit. He talked about how “our” Suburban was really the Lord’s and that if we truly embraced that concept and let our Suburban haul kids on Scout trips, temple trips, and the myriad of other needs that a ward experiences, we could let the Lord worry about new tires, transmissions, and other repairs. I loved it.
I went home to present the idea to my husband, Nelson. At the time, we drove an old yellow Suburban that was always in need of a repair, whether big or small. My dad would have called it a rattletrap. Our cars had always been available to the ward, but this took our thinking to another level. Miles, tires, and wear and tear were not my concern alone; the Lord also had a vested interest. After all, it was His Suburban; I was just the steward. I would have to handle the physical end, keeping the Lord’s Suburban clean and maintained, but the bigger worries were no longer mine. From then on, when the bishop or someone else would ask to use our car, we loved giving the answer simply, “Of course; it’s the Lord’s Suburban.” Soon, the bishop would call and ask, “Is the Lord’s Suburban available?”
Eventually, the old Suburban needed to retire, so we bought a new one. I was serving as the Young Women’s president in our ward at that time. We drove to the dealership one evening to pick up the new green Suburban, and I drove it straight to Mutual. As I walked into the building, my Beehive adviser asked me if she could take my car for an activity. “What? Stop right there!” my mind screamed. “This is my Suburban! Besides, it looks so new and nice and . . .”
It had been so easy to let the Lord worry about the yellow Suburban because it was old and in need of help, but this new one was—well, it did not need help! I had to decide all over again whose car this was. With a deep breath, I slowly handed her the keys.
At the end of the evening, she apologetically returned the keys. She said she never would have asked to use the brand-new car if she had known, so why hadn’t I said something? Even though I had forgotten for a brief moment that the Suburban wasn’t mine, I was grateful that the Spirit reminded me that it was the Lord’s and was needed for His service even if it was brand-new. As I took the keys, I reminded her that this was not my vehicle but the Lord’s.
Of course, the brand-new green Suburban didn’t stay new. Eventually, it too needed new tires and repairs. What a blessing to know that if it was the Lord’s while it was new, it was also His when it needed help. With full confidence, I could hand the repairs over to the Lord and let Him worry about His vehicle.
When we received our mission call, we sold the green Suburban to a member of our ward. A few weeks later, he was called as the Young Men president. The calling seemed appropriate; after all, he was the new owner of the Lord’s Suburban.