Why is natural ability called “talent”?

In the ancient world a talent was a unit of weight used to value gold and silver. Today’s use of the word comes from the Book of Matthew, Wherein three servants are given equal amounts of money, or talent, by their master. Two invest wisely and profit while the third buries his and doesn’t.

That parable is how talent came to refer to the natural gifts we are all born with. The moral of the tale is that we must use our talents wisely or we will fail.