Leisure is more than just free time. It is time devoted to the unencumbered fulfillment of the human spirit in its reflection of the Godhead. It is a time for love, creativity, and contemplation. In this way, it can only be enjoyed consistently by those who are not required to work for a living.
However, it is proper that our work also contain in itself the seeds of leisure (it should be a service or creative or yet some form of contemplation) so that even those who must work may fulfill the needs of the human spirit (in fact, one may say that work is itself a reflection of God. Yes, truly, but drudgery is proper to the fall and is not work as God Himself works.)
Furthermore, it is proper that the worker also have regular recourse to leisure that is not work, and this is to be contrasted with “recreation” or the recovery of the body and mind after working. Leisure is not passive. It requires the engagement of the whole person. For this reason, leisure is often not possible on a daily basis because for the worker, his mind and body are not recovered sufficiently to engage in true leisure, not to mention various other responsibilities that take his time. Thus, leisure is not just “the time when you are not engaged in your livelihood.” In fact, your livelihood, as I mentioned above, should itself contain at least the seeds of leisure and there are many other uses of free time that are not leisurely.
The other reason why leisure is not possible for the average worker (nor even for the independently wealthy) is that true leisure is not understood because human nature is misunderstood. This leads to a decided lack of education in leisure which in turn leads to an inability of most people to properly pursue it. This is beside the fact that leisure itself is sort of seen as something you “earn” and often makes modern man feel guilty that he is not engaged in some utilitarian pursuit, so called. This obsession with work and utility yet this lack of understanding of leisure and human nature leads to a very depressing society in which fever-pitch activity alternates with boredom and/or bouts of mere inactivity.
This is not good for the individual nor is it good for society. We are all called to reflect God in our daily lives and we must as a society decide to ennoble work with leisure and provide the education in leisurely pursuits to all so that all may partake in natural human fulfillment in the broad variety of ways that we have developed.